Match-fixing law on the cards

ZIMBABWE will soon enact a law against match-fixing in local sport in order to stem the scourge that at one time threatened to destroy the country’s football.

Sports minister Makhosini Hlongwane told the parliamentary Portfolio on Sports recently that they are already crafting the Bill which will be tabled before the august House shortly before it is passed into law.

“As your minister of Sport I must make it very clear that I don’t like match-fixing, it’s an area that I am passionate about,” Hlongwane said.

“Let me just explain what match-fixing is. You pay at the gate to watch two teams that are playing and the match has been fixed.

“It means what you are watching is not real but rather you are watching a movie script because somebody is controlling results out there.

“It’s so unfair, it’s unbelievable. So we are going to legislate on this matter in a comprehensive way. We are working on the legislation and those matters will be informed so that they can participate in the process.”

He added: “But as your minister I also want to be careful not to destroy athletes. I cannot agree that (Charles) Manyuchi fixed when I don’t have evidence I can’t do that. If there is evidence that is clear surely something must be done.

“So we need to protect athletes. I think Zimbabweans should also be assisted that in sport you don’t win everything. It’s an important part of emotional development. If there are credible cases of match-fixing we need to deal with them.”

Match-fixing in local football came into light after the former Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa) administration led by Cuthbert Dube suspended over 100 players and officials in 2012.

Zifa claimed that between 2006 and 2010, various Zimbabwe national teams were paid by Asian betting syndicates led by the serial match-fixer Wilson Raj Perumal to lose games by pre-determined score lines.

The association conducted two investigations into the matter but in the end, Fifa refused to endorse the bans handed out because Zifa had not properly secured evidence into the offences.

Last year, current Zifa president Philip Chiyangwa claimed that former board member Edzai Kasinauyo had tried to fix the Warriors 2017 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers against Swaziland on behalf of Asian match-fixers.

Kasinauyo together with his co-accused Henrietta Rushwaya and Hwange coach Nation Dube were acquitted by the Harare Magistrates’ Courts. Meanwhile, Hlongwane said there was an urgent need to renovate or spruce up most of the sporting facilities around the country most of which have an eye sore.

“As the ministry we are moving around the country to inspect the state of sporting facilities... some of the facilities are in dire straits,” Hlongwane said.

“If you go to Rusape right now ... what we saw is hard to share. Just outside the country club there is supposed to be a golf course but right now it’s a field of maize.

“Also in Rusape, where there is supposed to be a tennis court someone is constructing a fuel station there. The cricket grounds, squash courts and others facilities it’s unbelievable.”

The Sports minister said he is engaging the local authorities in order to find a way forward to ensure that the facilities are maintained.

“But I must say I am happy with the co-operation I am getting from the local authorities. We have so far met with the town clerk in Mutare and in Rusape and they concede that they haven’t done a great job in looking after the sporting facilities,” he said.

“They said they are now going to put a budget for sports and recreation starting now after meeting them. They are now going to put a full fledge sport department in their structures.

“If the attitude that I have got from the two local authorities I have met so far is anything to go by, I think we are poised for change in as far as our sporting facilities are concerned.” —Godknows Matarutse

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