HARARE – We greatly welcome the news that law enforcement agents have moved a step closer to laying criminal charges against football players and officials found guilty last week of match-fixing.
Last week, we remarked that the conclusion of the Asiagate match-fixing investigation by Justice Ebrahim’s Independent Ethics Committee was the first major step in ensuring the demise of this vicious animal called Asiagate. Police action will be the final nail on the coffin.
Zimbabwean football needs to move on, and move on fast!
For a while, there was no doubt in our minds that match-fixing did take place on those trips to Asia between 2007 and 2009, and the Ethics Committee’s verdict confirmed our worst fears.
While those found guilty of match-fixing in the biggest scandal ever to rock Zimbabwean football have already been slapped with severe sentences such as life to lengthy bans, this only applies within football rules as stipulated by world governing body Fifa.
The law of the country must take its own course against perpetrators of this shameful act, a deed which disgraced the nation and portrayed the otherwise responsible and dignified citizens of Zimbabwe as a treacherous and greedy lot who would do anything for money.
The Anti-Corruption unit says it will charge those found guilty by Ebrahim’s probe with bribery and fraud, charges we think suit the offenders well.
Deliberately losing matches in lieu for money or gifts is an extreme case of bribery because it involves a perfidious exchange of dirty money.
A simple definition of bribery says a “bribe is a form of corruption which involves the promise of money or a favour to someone in a position of power, with the hope of influencing that person’s behaviour. Bribery is viewed as a crime in many regions of the world, and people who are caught offering or receiving bribes may face hefty penalties.”
This is what our national side did for three years in Asia.
It further says fraud is “a deliberate misrepresentation that causes a person or business to suffer damages, often in the form of monetary losses. All of these elements are usually required for an act to be considered fraud.”
So, when Monomotapa duped Malaysians and masqueraded as the Zimbabwe national side on a tour of that country in 2009, not only did they cause serious damage to the integrity of the Warriors, but to the country as a whole.
The long arm of the law must catch up with these traitorous elements.