Gambling addiction in sport
IN an interview with BBC Radio 5 live special on gambling addiction in sport in January 2015, former Arsenal, West Ham and Celtic star John Hartson said: “You’re very selfish as a gambler, very deceitful. Compulsive gamblers are compulsive liars —they’re very good at covering things up.”
One is tempted to describe Warriors’ hitman Knowledge Musona in the exact words of the former English Premier Soccer League striker, who is now battling testicular cancer.
Musona is a slippery attacker with five goals in nine games for his Belgian side KV Oostende. It, however, seems Musona was not only prolific on the field of play, but also off it with his alleged involvement with illegal gambling.
Gambling on matches in the league one plies his trade in is illegal in Belgium, but Musona was investigated for placing bets on matches that he was involved in.
The Belgian Gambling Commission has completed its investigations, but is yet to pronounce on the action to be taken against Musona and other players implicated in the scandal.
Betting in a game one is involved in means a player can underperform to avoid losing big money for the bet he would have placed. It’s all about winning as much money as possible in a brief period of time.
Now this is the same Musona who quit the Warriors in protest at what his legal representatives then termed sensationalised match-fixing allegations against him in 2012.
He attacked the unprofessional conduct of the then Zifa chief executive officer Jonathan Mashingaidze for going to the media, accusing him, Ovidy Karuru, Thomas Sweswe and Zhaimu Jambo of match-fixing before the Warriors’ Burundi Africa Cup of Nations match. The four players had been spotted at the offices of fired Zifa CEO Henrietta Rushwaya, who had been axed for alleged match fixing.
Musona demanded an unqualified apology from Zifa and the clearing of his name, which he insisted should receive the same publicity the allegations received, or he would reject national team call-ups.
Musona received a lot of public sympathy then and Mashingaidze was blasted for his “recklessness,” but the former Zifa CEO probably feels “vindicated” wherever he is. Could that have been Musona being “good at covering things up” by using lawyers that most locals cannot afford?
Wherever Mashingaidze is, he’s probably telling those he’s still in contact with that “I told you see”, and who can blame him?
Some former officials and players were implicated in the recent match-fixing scandal, but only Rushwaya, former Zifa board member Edzai Kasinauyo, former national team coach and assistant coach Ian Gorowa and Nation Dube were crucified.
Now the investigation of Musona in Belgian leaves one with a feeling that this has the probability of opening a can of worms in the Warriors’ set-up. Why, because Musona is no ordinary Warriors’ player. He wields a lot of influence among his teammates and commands a lot of respect from the technical staff and Zifa management.
The question is did Musona’s alleged betting habit only start at KV Oostende in Belgium and did not extend to Warriors’ games? We will never know as long as there remains no proper and thorough investigation into the matchfixing scandal that rocked our football this year. Cherry-picking a few people to crucify now seems to have been an attempt to contain the scandal and prevent it from exploding in its entirety.
If Musona can place bets for a club that pays his monthly wages, then surely it would not be a problem to do the same with the national team that plays once in a while. — @dilizwe