Zifa vice-president (administration) Ndumiso Gumede praised suspended Zifa Referees’ Committee (ZRC) vice-chairperson Samukeliso Silengane for initiating the investigations into the Zifa Central match-fixing scandal, which has claimed the scalps of the football mother body’s two board members and three officials of the referees’ committee.
In his report dated November 25, Gumede — who is the acting Zifa Referees’ Committee chairperson — said Silengane enlisted the services of referee Albert Mbuse to record mobile phone conversations that have opened the Pandoras Box into the allegations of corruption in the Central Region.
However, Gumede said it was unfortunate the audio compact disc made out of the conversations implicated several match officials.
Ironically, Silengane was also suspended after she was implicated in the scam by Cosmas Nyoni, the suspended Zifa Referees’ Committee representative for the Southern Region.
“Accolades must be given to the then acting chairperson of the ZRC who initiated a probe into the alleged scam allegations (sic) by enlisting the services of a referee Mr Albert Mbuse to record conversations with persons assumed to be involved in refereeing matters and other perceived stakeholders. The CD is available for those who care to listen to it. Regrettably the CD audio implicates a number of officials, at least two match commissioners and four referees,” the report said.
Gumede said the allegations levelled by Nyoni against her led to her suspension, action that had been taken against Nyoni and the referees’ committee representative for Central Region Manengedze Raisi on November 19.
Further events led to board members Patrick Hokonya (Central Region) and Gift Banda (Southern Region) being implicated, but their names were not on the report and an urgent meeting was called on Wednesday which resolved that the council members be suspended.
In his report, Gumede tasked the Zimbabwe Soccer Referees Association (ZSRA) to appeal to their members to abstain from corrupt activities.
“The ZRC has tasked the ZSRA to make a special appeal to their members to desist from such corruption and respect the core values of their profession amongst which are honesty, integrity and fair-play. The scourge of match-fixing is real and is a cancer to the game and must be stopped sooner rather than later. The country is hardly done with Asiagate and these latest allegations are a sad indictment to the referees, the game and Zimbabwe in particular. The truth is that not all referees are involved in horrendous activities.”