Sport minister Kirsty Coventry resumes work Monday from her three month maternity leave and swims into a raging storm made worse by match-fixing claims, abuse of funds and an uncertain future for the game of cricket.
Acting minister of Sports Kazembe Kazembe will hand Coventry back her ministry as well as appraise her on the chaos that rocked the Warriors camp.
Insiders say government is eager to set up an investigation to ascertain whether their dreadful African Cup of Nations showcase that ended with a 4-0 humiliation to DR Congo was a delayed match which had already been decided by match fixers.
“I strongly believe that money exchanged hands and I can tell you this is ‘Egyptgate’ but we only fear that FIFA might say that this is tantamount to government interference so we need a proper plan to deal with this issue,” said the top government official who declined to be named as it would be deemed government interference.
It is a double edged sword as any attempt of government interference risks quoting the ire of FIFA.
And then again Zimbabwe football has been down this road before through the infamous Asiagate scandal— a scandal that involved players and officials who underwent tours of Asia and lost several games by predetermined scorelines.
The conspiracy was reportedly established by Singaporean Wilson Raj Perumal who was arrested in Finland for attempting to fix Finnish matches.
Long winding financially and emotionally draining inquests were held, footballers and administrators reputations were tainted but nothing concrete came out of it, only lawsuits and broken careers
On the other end, the game of cricket is also on tenterhooks after the Sports and Recreation Commission (SRC) suspended the substantive ZC board, led by Tavengwa Mukuhlani, and replaced it with the interim one over a week ago.
ZC were punished for going against a directive to put on ice their elective Annual General Meeting.
The SRC actions have, unfortunately, resulted in the International Cricket Council (ICC) withholding funding from ZC.
ZC has been receiving monthly cash distributions from the ICC under a well-publicised controlled funding mechanism agreed last year.
However, without the June allocation, ZC was unable to pay for the women’s team’s travel, throwing Zimbabwe’s preparations for the ICC Women’s World Twenty20 Qualifier, to be held in Scotland in August-September, into disarray.
ZC has also been unable to process the June salaries for players and staff.
Administrative shortcomings and allegations of abuse of office have also dogged Zimbabwe Rugby Union with Aaron Jani, the Zimbabwe Rugby president fighting to clear his name amid allegations that he illegally diverted US$ 25 000.
Speaking in the aftermath of the Cairo distaster and as the country’s sport sector lurched from crisis to crisis, Kirsty said a plan was in motion to put Zimbabwe sport back on the rails.
“A long term plan with long term support run by the right people will turn our Sport around. It has already started. #Zimbabwe #Sport #Structures #People #Development #Players #Support,” Kirsty said on microblogging site Twitter.