Zim players pocketed millions in match-fixing

2012-02-04 20:47

Five PSL teams, including bigwigs Kaizer Chiefs and Mamelodi Sundowns, might lose some of their Zimbabwean-born players who have been implicated in bribery.

Chiefs central defender Thomas Sweswe might have netted about R1.2?million during the Asiagate soccer scandal that has rocked the Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa).

Zifa secretary Benedict “Grinder” Moyo, who investigated the initial Asiagate saga, told journalists in Johannesburg on Friday that each player might have pocketed a minimum of $10?000 (about R77?600) per fixed match.
Sweswe was apparently involved in 15 of those matches, meaning he could have made a minimum of $150?000.

“This is a lot of money we are talking about as each player could make $10?000 per fixed game while officials could have received $300?000,” said Moyo.

Zifa uncovered that players and the technical team were paid sums of money to lose exhibition matches on trips to Asia from 2007 to 2009.

More than 80 Zimbabwean players playing domestically and outside the country face a life ban from the game of soccer if the Zimbabwe Ethics Committee confirms their guilty verdict.
As it stands, those fingered have been banned from playing for their national team, although the ban does not extend to their clubs.

If the bans are carried out, Chiefs and Mamelodi Sundowns will be the hardest hit South African clubs. Two other Chiefs players, Jimmy Jambo and Willard Katsande, are also on the list of those blacklisted.

Sundowns captain Method Mwanjali and striker Nyasha Mushekwi are also on the list.

Other players plying their trade in South Africa are Moroka Swallows’ Oscar Machapa, Khama Billiat of Ajax Cape Town and Bidvest Wits number one goalkeeper, Energy Murambadoro.

A forthright Moyo said they wanted to clear Zimbabwe’s name on the international stage after their national team was implicated in bribery and match-fixing in Asia dating back to 2007.

Moyo said they have also highlighted the match between Bafana and the Warriors prior to the 2010 World Cup.
He vowed there would be no sacred cows, whether a player or officials. “We have no sympathy at all for those who are guilty and they will be prosecuted.”

He said they had classified the group into three categories – passive, active and hyperactive, depending on the number of games they played. Moyo encouraged players who wanted to come forward with information to do so to clear their names.

“If they come forward, they will be forgiven, but we will treat each case separately. It’s like turning into a state witness where you get a lenient sentence but to those who want to play hardball, we will not have mercy.”

He said the investigation was not only targeting players and was far from finished.

“We started with the board members who were fingered, then went for the players and now we’re going for the technical committee. They are not guilty or innocent until proven.”

He said they hoped to get the final verdict from the Ethics Committee before the league kicks off in mid-March.

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