Players exposed to match-fixers

THE Asiagate report made public last week by Zifa contains frightening revelations about match-fixing in Zimbabwe.

It suggests that convicted Singaporean match-fixer Raj Perumal may have infiltrated Zimbabwe football far back in the 1990s.

That finding, made by former Fifa head of security Chris Eaton who investigated Perumal’s match-fixing tentacles that spread across the globe, means there could more to the scandal than what is in the public domain.

So Zifa’s investigations which have been centred on trips made to Asia do not provide the whole picture of what took place in Zimbabwe’s tainted world of football over the years.

It is possible that match-fixing may have thrived for years without authorities noticing, and this may help explain why suspicious characters posed as the El Salvador national team in January 2004 and played against the Warriors.

Now that it is public knowledge that some players and officials were involved in match-fixing, Zifa has to intensify its investigations in order to get to the bottom of the matter.

The focus should not just be on the period from 2007, but also on the ’90s when some of our players, who were inches away from scoring for Zimbabwe in important matches, suspiciously shot wide of the goal.

The guiding principle should be to root out any forms of corruption that have tainted Zimbabwean football. Recently Zifa president Cuthbert Dube publicly claimed that the Warriors’ away match against Angola was fixed.

Dube’s stunning utterances bring to light the fact that Zifa has done very little to protect players from match-fixing syndicates.
It is appalling to see that during national team camps, our players are exposed to the outside world, as they freely mix and mingle with different people both at training sessions and hotels.

The way players interact with outsiders should be restricted. Zifa should also put in place a special security department that will guard against match-fixing as recommended by the Ebrahim Commission.
That is the only way we can bring credibility back to football which is followed by millions of Zimbabweans.

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