Sikhumbuzo Moyo Senior Sports Reporter
SWAZILAND football authorities say they are not losing sleep over damaging reports that their African Nations Cup qualifier against Zimbabwe was targeted for manipulation by match-fixing gangsters. The authorities seem to hold the belief that the whole drama is meant to shake them off their preparations ahead of the match scheduled for Friday.
The plan to manipulate the result, whose beneficiary would have been Swaziland, was busted by Zimbabwe football authorities who moved swiftly to suspend executive committee member Edzai Kasinauyo and Warriors assistant coach Nation Dube, who, according to sources close to the whole fiasco, is now likely to turn into a state witness.
Speaking to Chronicle Sport yesterday National Football Association of Swaziland general secretary Frederick Mngomezulu tried to justify their position by saying neither Zifa nor Caf have contacted them since the scandal broke out.
“The information we have is from the media and nothing official has come to us. I however want to be clear that those claims will not affect us in any way because we’re not part of it,” said Mngomezulu.
“We want to believe the results on the pitch will come from players’ efforts as opposed to being manipulated.”
Mngomezulu, whose side shocked Guinea 2-1 in their first game before holding Malawi to a 2-2 draw, said their plans will certainly not be affected by what he called rumours.
“Swaziland will focus on the mental strength of the team,” he said.
Meanwhile, Swaziland will play two friendly matches in 24 hours against neigbours Lesotho as part of their preparations for the top drawer encounter with the Warriors.
The international friendlies, set for today and tomorrow will take place on the weekend the Warriors are expected to troop into camp in Harare before departure on Wednesday or Thursday.
Both matches will be beamed Live on Supersport as part of a multi-million dollar deal signed between Caf and France- based company Lagardere, previously known as SportFive.
For the return leg, Zifa will get about $40,000, the same amount they are expected to have banked in the 1-1 draw with Guinea.