SPORT and Recreation minister Makhosini Hlongwane has spoken out strongly against match manipulation and says his ministry would not fold hands and watch the Olympian spirit and its noble values being eroded by match fixers.
BY TAWANDA TAFIRENYIKA
Hlongwane was the guest honour at the two-day National Convention on Match-Fixing attended by high-ranking government officials and football leaders including Minister for Liaison on Psychomotor Activities, Educational and Vocational Training Josaya Hungwe, permanent secretary in the Ministry of Justice Virginia Mabhiza, Zifa leadership led by president Phillip Chiyangwa and his vice Omega Sibanda among other sportspeople.
Hlongwane said the convention was aimed at laying a solid foundation for the enactment of legislation on match-fixing.
The convention comes as Zifa and the government are both investigating alleged match-fixing which might have affected Warriors matches.
There are allegations that a cartel involving among others former Warriors coach Ian Gorowa, the team’s assistant coach Nation Dube, former Zifa chief executive officer Henrietta Rushwaya and the association’s executive committee member Edzai Kasinauyo had planned to manipulate Zimbabwe’s Afcon qualifiers against Swaziland coming over the Easter holiday.
Hlongwane is at the heart of the probe and wants to see the enactment of a law specifically dealing with match-fixing.
Unlike Zimbabwe, South Africa, which has also been hit by a match-fixing scandal, allegedly driven by the same culprits, has got a law specifically to deal with match manipulation and those caught offside, face jail terms.
“We cannot sit back and fold our hands and watch the Olympian spirit and its noble values being eroded and trampled upon by the nefarious activities of a few misguided opportunists and criminals,” Hlongwane said. “We should not succumb to mischief or be enticed by their ill-gotten filthy lucre. You can imagine a world governed by this sub-culture of unfettered caprice where losers become winners at the behest of sinister manoeuvres of the underworld.”
While stressing that there was need to act and arrest the match-fixing scourge, he acknowledged that they could not go it alone in their bid as there was need for co-operation from all stakeholders.
He said the articulation of a consolidated template from which to stage multifaceted and sustainable campaigns against these miscreants and their errant behaviour should be prioritised at both national and international levels.
“In this regard, Zimbabwe will be fighting a losing battle if it embarked on a solo effort without summoning external support and solidarity. At the end of the day, this explicit thuggery makes a mockery of the athletes’ tireless efforts to excel in their respective sport codes without resorting to cheating or manipulation of laid-down guidelines.”
Former Zimbabwe Olympic Committee CEO Stanley Mutoya, now at ANOCA (Association of National Olympic Committees of Africa) based in Botswana, gave a presentation on match-fixing and how it can be curbed.
Retired referee Brighton Mudzamiri and Bindura University vice-chancellor Eddie Mwonje also made presentations on the scourge of match-fixing and corruption in sport.