Robson Sharuko and Eddie Chikamhi
ZIFA have named their former chief executive, Henrietta Rushwaya, as part of a syndicate they claim has been involved in match-fixing in the past six years while the football controlling body have axed Nation Dube from his post as Warriors’ assistant coach.
Dube, the Hwange coach, has been fingered by Zifa as being part of the match-fixing cartel, run from South Africa by a shadowy figure named yesterday only as “Chief”, whom the Association claims is the brother of serial match-fixer Wilson Raj Perumal of Singapore.
Zifa have already suspended one of the Board Members, Edzai Kasinauyo, claiming that he is part of the rot while former Warriors’ coach, Ian Gorowa, has also been implicated in the scandal.
Ricky Zililo responds to questions about the latest match fixing scandal that has rocked football in Zimbabwe. Play the audio clip below:
Philip Chiyangwa, the Zifa president, told a media conference in Harare yesterday that the cartel was set to try and fix the Warriors’ upcoming 2017 Nations Cup qualifiers against Swaziland, on Easter weekend, and also move in to try and manipulate matches in the domestic Premiership.
Chiyangwa said their “chief witness,” a whistleblower who had turned against the cartel, arrived in Harare yesterday with loads of information that implicate those who have been fingered in the unfolding scandal.
The Harare businessman dismissed reports that Warriors’ talisman, Khama Billiat, was one of the players implicated but said the cartel had penetrated the South African Premiership and was allegedly fixing matches in Super Diski.
Sports and Recreation Minister Makhosini Hlongwane said government was concerned about the latest reports and would leave no stone unturned to ensure that the culprits were brought to book.
“On behalf of the government of the Republic of Zimbabwe, and the Ministry of Sport and Recreation, and indeed on my own behalf, I would like to inform the nation that as indicated in the various media, it has come to our attention that there’ve been serious allegations of underhand dealings within the game of football in Zimbabwe,” said Hlongwane.
“It’s alleged that the underhand dealings involve a multinational syndicate. Government categorically deplores this disturbing development in the game of football as it has an unsalutary impact on the whole sport sector in Zimbabwe and has the potential to sully the image of Brand Zimbabwe at home and abroad.
“It’s indeed disheartening to learn that this intricate web of deceit has been in existence for quite some time, and it implicates some of those people we had invested our trust to administer the popular game of football.
“In this regard, I can assure the whole nation that government, in tandem with its policy of zero tolerance to corruption and unsportsmanlike conduct, will play its part in expediting the resolution of this matter. Indeed, no stone will be left unturned.”
The Confederation of African Football yesterday said allegations were of a “serious” nature and had activated mechanisms to ensure that the integrity of the game, including the matches between Zimbabwe and Swaziland, would not be compromised. “The facts reported are very serious and CAF has noted the precautionary measure taken by the Zimbabwe Football Association, while opening a serene investigation into the case in respect of the rule of law. We reaffirm the commitment of the Caf president and the Executive Committee to eliminate any threat that will influence the integrity of the game on the continent, either through match-fixing or illegal betting. We will, immediately, in consultation with Fifa, investigate and activate the mechanisms necessary to ensure that similar actions will not come to affect the course of any match, be it in the context of the Afcon 2017 qualifiers, or any other future competition,” said Caf who also requested for more information and evidence.
Chiyangwa said they had put in place mechanisms to deal with the latest case and said the Zifa has gathered enough material to nail the suspects and they were still working on more evidence to beef up their case.
A decision is expected to be taken at the Association’s congress at the end of this month and thereafter the police could be called in to bring the perpetrators to book.
According to evidence gathered so far, Chiyangwa said match fixing has been going on for a while despite the negative light the country had received because of the Asiagate scandal a few years ago.
Chiyangwa said it was disturbing that the alleged match fixers were now targeting the Warriors and wanted them to lose the two matches against Swaziland and revealed that he deliberately blocked coach Callisto Pasuwa from naming his squad this week to trap the suspects.
“Any player who received cash from Nation Dube in Rwanda, that player will not be in the team. That will be the end of his career,” said Chiyangwa.
“Even those who are based in South Africa, if they get implicated, I will write to their teams in South Africa and SAFA to bring them back home.
“This one will nail them. This one is bad news. It’s not about Zimbabwe only, these guys had plotted to destroy other leagues even outside our borders.
“That’s where I have a problem with anybody who has been doing this because they were determined to destroy the football that we all had been enjoying peacefully.
“Where there is peace there must also be fairness but in this case there was no fairness. They wanted to destroy that and that’s why I want to deal with them ruthlessly. They cannot do this.
“I am new in this office and I had forgiven people who had done what they did previously but to start it again while I am in office, I can’t just fold my hands.
“Everyone who has been associated or involved, in fact what FIFA says about match-fixing, even any official who knew this was happening when these people were plotting and planning and did not inform me will go home.”
The ZIFA president said it was worrying the match-fixing syndicate had also targeted some matches outside the country’s borders as it also emerged that FIFA were investigating some match-fixing allegations in South Africa.
“It’s sad because what I am hearing from the guys (working on the evidence) is bad news. These guys are determined.
“They have saturated the South African league with match-fixing and they were now coming here to when our league starts.
“For your own information, our league was delayed purposely because we were aware of this. So I wanted to deal with these people decisively.
“I want to hit them here and then follow them to South Africa to make sure that they are brought to book. We can’t have such in football,” said Chiyangwa