Zimbabwe’s Premier Soccer League season kicks-off today (Friday) with prospects of a corrupt clean football at an all-time low amid a string of unresolved corruption and bribery charges levelled against top club officials.
Allegations of underhand dealings by top officials at their various clubs dominated the pre-season with ZESA Holdings in February launching an investigation into ZPC Kariba coach Godfrey Tamirepi.
Tamirepi was accused of doubling signing-on fees and demanding bribes from players amounting to about 30% of the total signing-on fee, among other corrupt activities.
The corruption storm also hit Manica Diamonds, where there has been no action since bribery-accused executive member Lazarus Muhoni on March 2 resigned saying his image had suffered irreparable damage.
There was also allegations of underhand deals when Valentine Kadonzvo crossed the floor to Chicken Inn, just days after he had told Dynamos that he wanted his clearance letter so that he could pursue his studies overseas.
Dynamos are still demanding $8000 from that controversial transfer with Chicken Inn believed to have offered something in the region of $3000.
The chances of continued underhand transactions are still wide open as players are poorly paid, the Premier Soccer League board of governors admitted earlier this month at their Annual General Meeting in Harare.
“The Premier Soccer League and Footballers Union of Zimbabwe are finalising a Standard Player contract subject to approval by the Zimbabwe Football Association. This will go a long way in resolving player disputes,” the PSL said in a statement.
With Zimbabwe’s economy on the ropes amid skyrocketing cost of living, it remains to be seen if the season will pass without allegations of match-fixing.
In truth, if the current systemic corruption is allowed to go unchecked at every level in the Zimbabwean game, then truly football will no longer be just a game anymore.