• Former Proteas batsman pleads guilty to corruption charges

    Former South Africa batsman Gulam Bodi has pleaded guilty to eight charges of corruption.

    Cricket South Africa banned Bodi for 20 years in 2016, after he contrived to ‘improperly influence’ matches during the 2015 Ram Slam T20 competition.

    Former Proteas Alviro Petersen, Thami Tsolekile and Lonwabo Tsotsobe and three others – Jean Symes, Pumi Matshikwe and Ethy Mbhalati – were also implicated.

    ‘It has been a very tough few years. I’ve been banned for 20 years. That’s already a long sentence. So for me not to be able to do something I loved my entire life has been terribly hard. I haven’t really settled in the last three years. It’s been a constant battle,’ said Bodi.

    ‘Just recently I managed to get a job, and after three years of running around and struggling, things started slowly looking a bit better, and now this comes up. It’s completely shattered me. They pulled me out of school when I was just 16 and put me in a cricket academy. I don’t even have an education background to fall back on, so it’s been a real battle. This is going to greatly affect my job and my family, because nobody wants to be associated with a criminal.’

    Bodi’s legal representative Sinenhlanhla Mnguni told The Saturday Star: ‘Before this whole thing transpired, my client was offered a job at a cricket academy and had also been commenting with SuperSport. The fact that the ban he received meant he couldn’t be involved with cricket took away any form of income he would be able to earn because, in essence, this man only knows cricket. He doesn’t have an academic background.

    ‘I’m hoping that when we bring forward all these issues to the court, in addition to the fact that he’s got three very young children and he’s got an elderly unemployed mother, whom he financially supports.

    ‘I feel for my client because I know he’s been through a lot. He’s made a mistake and I won’t say he’s been punished enough, but he has been punished and he suffered a lot going through this process, and he obviously feels very sorry for what he’s done and the harm he has caused to CSA and the damage that they suffered in the public for what he’s done.’

    The 39-year-old Bodi, who played two ODIs and one T20I in 2007, will be sentenced on 28 January 2019.

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    Jonhenry Wilson