HomeOpinion & AnalysisColumnistsBenjani’s dance all going wrong

Benjani’s dance all going wrong


He is the former Warriors captain, a man who has played in France and England in his international football career and the first Zimbabwean player to stage a testimonial match.

He will be building an academy soon under the Benjani Mwaruwari Foundation. He has a new annual tournament in Bulawayo that he launched just before his testimonial.

While he was not in Victoria Falls at the weekend to witness the best on offer in the Copa Coca-Cola schools boys and girls tournament, he did provide a tracksuit and boots for some of the best players there.

He has in the past also assisted the Warriors financially when caught in their usual state of ill-preparedness for international matches.

A wonderful character, isn’t he? But we are shocked to hear he has to appear before the Justice Ahmed Ebrahim-led Ethics Committee looking into various cases of match-fixing, now known as Asiagate.

It all started last week when he made an application together with the alleged mastermind of match-fixing Henrietta Rushwaya, who has been cleared by the courts of the allegations, to the effect that Zifa is not the right body to hear the case.

They want the case, ironically, to be heard by the supreme sports body, the Sports and Recreation Commission (SRC). Zifa, for those in the know, did not initiate this probe; it was a directive from the SRC to look into the issue and no one can now say the same body that issued the order must hear the case.

It does not make sense at all. Worse, Benjani is an applicant in this matter. This case was dismissed. In fact, it deserved to be as it lacked merit. There is just no way that the applicants can seek redress from the same organisation that initiated a probe against them.

Maybe we are missing something here. Maybe there is something that Benjani knows that the rest of Zimbabwe does not know.

So we await this hearing with bated breath because we want to be informed on how Benjani comes into this story.

He will appear alongside former Zifa president Wellington Nyatanga, under whose leadership Asiagate surfaced and he seemed to have turned a blind eye to it. Former Premier Soccer League fixtures secretary Godfrey Japajapa will also appear before the committee.

We believe this is the biggest chance that Rushwaya, Nyatanga and Japajapa have of clearing their names because, honestly, a whole chunk of business and time has been lost due to the late conclusion of this saga.

Perhaps, once this conclusion has been reached, some members of the media will have the freedom of discharging their duties diligently without being viewed with an eagle eye over stories of match-fixing.

There have been threats, plots, lies and clandestine meetings against some members of the media for their coverage of match-fixing and as much as the accused want an end to this, the media is equally anxious.

The Zifa Board met on Saturday and resolved that this issue must be concluded before the August 8 international friendly against Zambia in Ndola and we cannot wait anymore for this bombshell that the national association has promised.

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