Education, Sport, Arts and Culture minister David Coltart yesterday bemoaned the “politicisation of local football” and urged Zifa to leave no stone unturned during its investigations of administrators and players implicated in match-fixing scandals.
Coltart made the remarks in Parliament after Mhondoro Ngezi MP Bright Matonga (Zanu PF) demanded to know what action the parent ministry would take against players linked to alleged recent match-fixing scandals.
Matonga also sought clarification on Coltart’s ministry’s position with regard to non-payment of former Warriors coaches and when Zimbabwe would have a permanent coach for the senior national soccer team.
“We need respect of the rule of law in football and respect of the Fifa statutes and to that extent I support Zifa’s efforts to try and cleanse the sport because justice delayed is justice denied and we have far too many players and coaches in a state of limbo,” Coltart said.
“Whilst we encourage Zifa to proceed with investigating, they must do that with haste so that we know where we stand and if we find any players and coaches were involved, they clearly have no role to play in the future of Zimbabwean football and we need the co-operation of the police and the Attorney-General because I was concerned about charges being dropped without adequate explanation.”
Coltart added: “Within Zifa, we need far more transparency and accountability and I want the Zifa board to demonstrate that. We have such enormous potential in football and yet for many years we have not realised that potential and I think it will be true to say football in our nation has been poisoned and this has not happened overnight.”
The minister cited lack of passion and patriotism among players and administrators as having contributed to the collapse in the standards of football.