I was not surprised by former Premier Services Medical Aid Society Cuthbert Dube’s victory at the Zimbabwe Football Association elections at the weekend- soccer is the bedrock of corruption right from the local football association to the international body itself, the International Football Association, FIFA.
The only thing should worry every Zimbabwean is that corruption is now deeply imbedded in our society. We can shout at the government for not acting on corruption but we, as individuals, no longer frown on it.
The very fact that Dube was involved in the “salarygate” scandal should have triggered alarm buttons among the Zifa councillors. But what is now happening in Zimbabwe is that the honest individual is now the one scoffed at as being “stupid”.
I got an insight into corruption in soccer four years ago when I coordinated and edited a transnational investigation into African football entitled: Killing Soccer in Africa.
The report looked at why African countries were doing so poorly in the World Cup when it had international stars like Didier Drogba, Samuel Etoo, Yaya Toure, Lucas Radebe, Michael Essien, Nwankwo Kanu, Peter Ndlovu and George Weah who was a World Footballer of the Year.
The report coincided with the 2010World Cup played in South Africa where a record six African countries were participating.
The bottom line was that soccer was riddled with corruption. Football administrators were in the game for what they could get out it rather than investing in the game and were even abusing the development grant they got from Fifa with impunity.
In the case of Zimbabwe our reporter was told that Dube had bribed councillors to win the election- that same year- 2010- but when our reporter demanded proof or affidavits from some of the councillors who claimed to have been paid, they demanded US$1 000 from our reporter.
The report, Killing Soccer in Africa, is now a case study in the United National Education and Scientific Organisation’s Global Investigative Journalism Casebook and is widely available on the internet.