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Don't be discouraged, Fikile


Minister of Sport Fikile Mbalula needs all the support he can get from concerned South African football followers who wish to see domestic football scrubbed until it is sparkling clean and shining for all the world to see.

It will not be an easy task as he tries to get to the bottom of the bribery, corruption and fraud accussations levelled at those in senior positions by former FIFA officials last December.

It seems like some people have taken advantage of the game achieved through questionable means, and it comes as no surprise that they are panicking now that Mbalula is clutching a broom and intends to sweep the corridors of football sparkling clean.

They are used to previous Ministers who were simply too lazy to dirty their hands and in fact, countless Sport Ministers literally washed their hands clean of football, and one famously remarked that our football was run by the “Mafia”.

The words corruption and bribery have always hung over South African football like a dark cloud and let us face it, there has never really been an honest attempt to clean up the game.

It had always been a case of football officials investigating their own backyard in farcical jaunts that were aimed at placating an angry public, and to be honest they have managed to get away with far too much.

There was the Motimele Commission of Enquiry, the Pickard Commission and inbetween there was the famous “Operation Dribble” where countless referees were suspended and some thrown into the tjoekie!

Referee Moses Soko escaped an assassination attempt after spilling the beans on match fixing. High-ranking club owners were arrested and some had their names 'whispered' in corridors, with claims that they were deeply involved in the scandal.

Two respected cops – Fanie Molapo and Afrika Khumalo (may their souls rest in peace) - headed the investigations at the time when some referees, including the owner of Benoni Premier United, were arrested.

Sadly, Operation Dribble fizzled out and perhaps that is why the corruption continues with impunity because the perpetrators feel untouchable.

But they did not bargain with Mbalula, who is determined to end the never-ending 'Commissions of Enquiry' that have done nothing constructive for local football. Mbalula is prepared to not just ruffle feathers, but to pluck a few as well.

I suppose that is why certain people have written to Fifa and given the impression that Mbalula is interfering in football, hoping that 'Fiks' will back off when football's governing body issues a threat against our local football's standing in the game.

Former Fifa-accredited local referee Ace Ncobo resigned from his post within the PSL and stunned the whole country when he publicly announced that South African football was rotten to the core, so I am glad that Mbalula has seen through the attempts to stymie his efforts to clean up football and intends to explain to Sepp Blatter the gravity of the situation, and why he aims to assist and not interfere.

It is only when a Judicial Commission of Enquiry is convened that has the power to subpoena witnesses and arrest those they find to be guilty of bribery and match fixing that our game will be rid of the rotten elements, and will then be able to bloom.

And to achieve this objective, Mbalula must be encouraged by all concerned South Africans to pursue to the bitter end his objectives, otherwise our football will never have the opportunity to cleanse itself out.


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