Betting scandal costs Musona
BELGIUM-based Warriors’ darling, Knowledge Musona, has hogged the headlines for the wrong reasons after being implicated in a gambling scandal that has attracted Zimbabwean soccer fans’ interest. Reports allege that he made bets on matches involving his team KV Oostende. Although details of the betting scandal are sketchy, the Warriors’ frontman, who has scored five goals in nine matches for his club . Belgian website Sporza.be said Musona was investigated together with Olivier Deschacht and Waasland-Beveren goalkeeper Laurent Henkinet by the Gambling Commission in connection with match gambling. The reports say the investigations have been concluded and the players were found to have gambled on matches involving their clubs. “The ProLeague confirmed that ‘four or five players’ were mentioned in the investigation of the committee and now there are two names to fill in Ostend striker Knowledge Musona and Waasland-Beveren goalkeeper Laurent Henkinet. The prosecutor questioned the two men and completed its investigation. The conclusion is that the two indeed have gambled on games of their own team. It is now up to the Gambling Commission to decide whether the two (will be) fined,” reads the report on the Sporza.be website.
Questions are now being asked as to whether Musona’s conduct isn’t tantamount to match-fixing, a cancer that threatens Zimbabwean football.
Fans took to social media to express their concerns over the player’s conduct, with some questioning if he had not done similar actions in matches involving the senior national team.
“For ethical and to a larger extent, professional reasons, footballers are not permitted to gamble in matches where they are participants. In 2012, Knowledge Musona was allegedly seen at the offices of Henritta Rushwaya, who was banned for match-fixing activities. It surely comes as no surprise that Musona’s name woke up to some thunderous international headlines which borders on match-fixing margins. Hopefully he didn’t bet in any of our national team games and hopefully the Wicknell Chivayo relationship is a squeaky clean affair,” said Faith Silandulo Dube.
Save Mawarire wrote: “One can’t bet in a scenario where he has the capabilities to influence the outcome. There is a potential conflict of interest and it borders on criminality. In financial markets they call this ‘insider trading’. It’s basically the art of taking a view on the outcome/price of a financial instrument when you have the privilege of information which other players in the same market do not have. It is completely criminal and unethical. Imagine what goes in the mind of a keeper who has played BTS (both teams to score) and his team leading 3-0 with five minutes to go and he has potential to rake in $1 million if the opponent scores?”
A reader by the name Manyika wrote: “Gambling in a match in which you are a participant is not far from match-fixing. Knowledge should learn from the fate of his compatriot Bruce Grobbelaar, who is a sort of a pariah at Liverpool where his legendary status has come under question. It seems no team wants the Jungleman in its football structures and television stations do not fancy him as a pundit despite all the stellar success he achieved during his playing days. I am sure the money he could have earned as a former footballer exceeds whatever he illegally earned from his misdemeanours (he actually lost most of his fortune in legal battles in a vain bid to defend his legacy and reputation). Sometimes I do not understand why guys who seem to have it all recklessly throw it away.”
Musona could face a fine for his conduct like former Manchester City defender Martín Demichelis, who escaped with a ban after accepting a betting-related charge and was fined £22 058 before receiving a warning from the English Football Association.
Demichelis placed 29 bets on football matches between January 22 and February 15 this year, but the offences did not relate to any matches over which the Argentine defender could have had an influence, leading to a lenient punishment.
In 2013, ex-Tottenham winger Andros Townsend was slapped with a four-month ban, three of which were suspended, and fined £18 000 after breaking betting rules.
In the same year, striker Cameron Jerome, then of Stoke City, was fined £50 000 after admitting repeatedly breaching the regulations, while former Newcastle United midfielder Dan Gosling was fined £30 000 in 2014.
Last month Norwich City striker Kyle Lafferty was fined £23 000 and warned about his future conduct after he too was caught betting on games. — @ZililoR