Veteran politician and former Cabinet minister Cephas Msipa has lent his full weight to the Zimbabwe Football Association leadership and demanded that they come down hard on match-fixing culprits named in the Asiagate scandal.The former long-serving Midlands governor brought the curtain down at a glittering Cuthbert Dube Zifa Midlands Awards ceremony held at the Gweru Showgrounds recently.
The event was graced by members of the football fraternity in the region and saw outstanding players in the Zifa (Midlands Province) Division Two and Three being rewarded with their end-of-season accolades. Newly-promoted football clubs and their runner-ups from around the province also attended, with the new big guns being Mabvokocho FC based in Gweru and Redcliff side New Zim Steel Under-19, both promoted into the Central Region Soccer League (CSL).
Their runner-ups were Kwekwe Pirates FC from Midlands Division 2B and NM Academy, winners of Division 2A. Guest of honour, Honourable Msipa who was re-appointed the Zifa Midlands patron, in his remarks applauded the 2012 Cuthbert Dube Zifa Midlands Awards for their success. “I’m delighted to be the Zifa patron in this province for it reminds me of my heyday when I was a board member under the chairmanship of Mr Madzima. I am really grateful for the great work done by Mr Dube towards developing sports in the country,” said Msipa.
Likening Dube to the late revered football administrator John Madzima, Msipa said the Harare businessman and entrepreneur had proved inspirational and exemplary. “He has set an example of good leadership like Mr Madzima, according to my judgment,’’ averred Msipa, who served under the Madzima administration as a board member. He said Dube as the chairman of Zifa had shown his love and support for football and equalled the excellent chairmanship of the late Madzima who laid the foundation of organised football and the formulation of a sports policy in newly-independent Zimbabwe. Msipa congratulated prize-winners on the night and warned them to shun match-fixing which he said had harmed the image of football in the country. He asked for the culprits to face the full wrath of the law.
“To the newly promoted teams and your players, I urge you to shun corruption such as Asiagate. Fight until you qualify into the Warriors. To the Zifa disciplinary committee I say spare no mercy towards match-fixers if you want us to excel in football as a nation. If we do things correctly one day we will be proud of ourselves like Brazil, Spain and many more in Europe,” Msipa said.A renowned FC Platinum supporter, the former governor also urged the corporate world to consider supporting sport since they will be reprocating the favour to the same people who make their businesses thrive.
“We can’t have companies which are here in our country to reap off without ploughing back. Sport must not suffer for lack of sponsorship when there are plenty of corporate companies benefiting from our resources, particularly here in the Midlands.’’ Among other guests present were the Zifa chief executive officer Jonathan Mashingaidze, Sports and Recreation Commission provincial coordinator Simon Masaka, Central Soccer League acting chairman Patrick Hill, the Zifa Midlands chairman Brian Chishanga and other football officials.
In a related development, Warriors Friends Club president Tendai “T-Buns” Zhakata has dissociated himself from an alleged plot to demonstrate against the Zifa president. “I am not party to any such sinister agenda and I am actually hearing it for the first time. We are fully behind the Zifa leadership as they seek to clean up our football and bring us success,’’ said Zhakata. Zhakata warned supporters against the move, saying it was against Fifa and Zifa statutes and they risked being penalised or even banned by the association.
“As far as I know, the vote of no-confidence has been eradicated from the Zifa constitution because disorder had become the order of the day with anyone waking up to raise a no-confidence vote motion.’’