IT’S sad to witness the death of a star passing unnoticed or without anyone pretending to care.
The conditions in which Yesmore Mutero — yes, that sam
e striker who starred for the Mighty Warriors a few years ago — died makes it sadder.
Yet the circumstances that might have led to her death at the tender age of 25 makes it the saddest thing to happen in Zimbabwean football in recent years.
Mutero died poor; her exploits with Zimbabwe’s women’s national soccer team never guaranteed her any status befitting star footballers.
She died from complications of HIV, the virus that causes Aids.
Last year Mutero grabbed the headlines after accusing a former Mighty Warriors coach of infecting her with the deadly virus, prompting head coach Shacky Tauro to quit the post in a huff.
Tauro denied having had an affair with Mutero, and dismissed the allegations as the work of detractors. However, we never got any plausible explanation why he quit on the eve of an important tournament, except that he couldn’t spend four weeks in South Africa.
But it’s hard to believe Tauro, who described the accusation by Mutero as “mad”, provided sufficient defence against such serious allegations.
The allegation was only the tip of an iceberg. We were told other members of the Mighty Warriors technical team had allegedly been involved in illicit affairs with national team players since 2003.
Some players had in fact been impregnated.
We also heard how drug abuse and lesbianism was rampant during Mighty Warriors camps.
In August last year, at the behest of incensed parents and members of the public, the Zimbabwe Football Association instituted a probe into the scandal. That was the last we heard of it.
Eight months later, a central figure in the scandal is no more. We only hope Mutero’s evidence has been recorded.
We are dumbfounded by the silence over the matter. Did the investigation ever go beyond Zifa chief executive Jonathan Mashingaidze?
Why has Zifa been silent over the issue? Why have we not had Tauro or any members of his technical team explaining their role in the alleged scandal?
If Mutero was lying she should have been exposed. Now that she’s no more, the truth might never be known.
If all the claims of drug abuse and lesbianism were true, we would all have loved to know who puffed mbanje and who the chichi girls were.
Let us not be tempted to believe someone somewhere has something to hide.
It seems Zifa deliberately covers up for all the scandals that have rocked local soccer over the years.
We all remember how Warriors striker Shingi Kawondera reportedly sneaked out of camp for late-night partying on the eve of Zimbabwe’s World Cup qualifier against Nigeria last September.
There are a lot of other male national team players who were spotted at odd hours entertaining their girlfriends when they were supposed to be in camp. We even heard claims that skipper Peter Ndlovu had himself also sneaked out to another hotel where he had booked in a friend.
These remained allegations which Zifa pretended to investigate soon after the Warriors’ humiliation at the hands of the Super Eagles. The hearing which Ndlovu was supposed to face was conveniently scrapped.
Only late last year, members of the Under-20 national side that took part in an annual competition in South Africa were embroiled in an embarrassing scandal that subsequently contributed to their exit from the gala.
Some players are said to have run up huge bills watching pornography on television all night instead of resting in preparation for a semi-final clash against the hosts. As expected, the Young Warriors performed dismally.
Yet no one took any action amid allegations that some technical staff members might also have been involved in some mischief.
We are convinced there are numerous other incidents of indiscipline that have been witnessed with our national teams, but no one seems to care.
Indiscipline costs in any sporting discipline, but not acting on mischief might even kill sport.
We want to know what the probe Zifa told us about revealed. We want to hear the Susan Chibizhes of this world tell us the whole story.
There’s no one holier than sport, and there’s no player bigger than discipline.
Our ears are listening, and our eyes remain wide open.
May Mutero’s soul rest in eternal peace.