KWEKWE– Efforts by the new dispensation to uplift sport- particularly soccer- in the marginalized rural communities of the country are being let down by greedy match officials who are bribed to fix matches, an official has said.
According to Martha Chibaya, co-owner of Zhombe-based Central Soccer League Division 2B side Chibz FC, biased officiating is proving to be the plague that has afflicted football development in the country and is stalling the progress of rural teams which are incapacitated to bribe match officials.
Chibaya, who runs Chibz FC with her husband Brian Chibaya, said ‘it hurts to invest large sums of money in improving football, only to be let down by greedy match officials who will stop at nothing to fix matches, for the love of the elusive greenbacks’. She made the remarks at Amaveni Stadium after her side had been mauled by Hardrock FC in a match the visitors blamed the referee for two controversial first-half penalties.
“You cannot understand it, really. You know, we are financing the team for the love of the world’s most beautiful game and also to ensure that the young boys have something to occupy them. We are trying to uplift these young lads from the villages, but all we get is biased officiating. Being a rural side that we are, you cannot expect us to budget money so that we bribe referees. We love the sport, and we pay referees match fees in all our home matches”, she said.
The highly talented Chibz FC started the season on a bad note, winning once and also drawing once in their first eight matches of the 2019 campaign.
“You know, there is a lot of talent in the villages and what we are doing by financing this side is merely complimenting President Mnangagwa’s efforts to uplift the standard of living for people living in the rural areas who were marginalized and underprivileged during the era of the previous government”, Chibaya said.