Football money? Not in Zimbabwe

HARARE -  David Beckham is a world-famous soccer star. Most of us knew of him when he played for Manchester United and Real Madrid.

He has made millions of dollars, confirming that there is a lot of money in soccer.

In Southern Rhodesia, Freddie Gotora was a celebrated soccer star.

As “Dusty King,” he was a key member of Salisbury’s Civil Service FC, winners of many championships.

I met him face-to-face when I was with The African Daily News.

Without wanting to embarrass anyone — dead or alive — I was assigned to do a story on Dusty King and Dorothy Masuka, as a famous couple.

I emphasise it was an assignment. What I did not know was that it was for a bicycle-selling company in Salisbury.

I did my story believing it was a feature — I was a feature writer. They probably made money, but I doubt they were millionaires. Earlier, growing up in the Old Bricks in Harare township, a bosom friend was Danny Bricks, later to be celebrated as a great soccer player too.

Another was Josiah Akende. Both became quite famous and would have made a lot of money if they had played anywhere else.

In Southern Rhodesia and Zimbabwe, they achieved much fame. I doubt they made any fortune, until they passed on into the Great Stadium In the Sky.

Memories of their lives flashed back into my mind during the on-going Fifa World Cup tournament in Brazil.

If they had been alive today, I believe they too would have been among many Zimbabweans spending their time before a TV set, watching every game.

The most popular game in the world remains as popular as it was when it was first played, somewhere in England, I believe.

It’s the English who brought the game to Africa, turning a number of African players, from Nigeria to South Africa, into millionaires overnight.

Only if they played overseas did it enhance their lifestyles equivalent to those of film stars.

If they could ply their trade only in their countries, they may have made  a  fortune of sorts…but hardly spectacular enough to be mentioned in Forbes magazine.

In Zimbabwe, a debate raged during the Fifa tournament: why did the nation fare so badly?

Why was there so little financial gain and support for the game?

Why was the government so mean in its financial support for the game?

Was it because it saw no political dividend to be culled from such largesse?

Or — more likely — was the government too broke to consider such help in the national interest?

Only the starry-eyed supporters of the ruling party would argue against the statement that this government is so riddled with corruption it is virtually broke in the true sense of the word.

But let us concentrate on why soccer in Zimbabwe is not getting the “push” it needs to turn our country into another “giant” of African soccer?

Before bringing forth arguments in support of even forcing the government to make huge investments into soccer, we must examine very carefully the state of corruption in the game’s administration.

If there are people unaware of the “dirt” in the administration of Zimbabwean soccer today, then all I can say is that they ought to have their heads examined.

For me, things would have turned out right if I had succeeded in playing soccer for a good team.

I am not saying that the second division team I played for briefly, the Springboks of Salisbury, were losers from the start.

But I think we lacked something…good luck, especially.

It is always an element, isn’t it?

Comments (3)

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PBennettMarketing - 12 July 2014

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PBennettMarketing - 12 July 2014

As I worked with football in Zimbabwe in the late 70s and earlier 80s, it was normal and trendy to fix games. Was that corruption or the real survival for teams who lacked financial resources but had interest in the game?

Mavara Azarevhu - 15 July 2014

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