Football unionist and former Zimbabwe international Paul Gundani has blasted apparent attempts by the country’s football governing body to implicate former Kaizer Chiefs striker Knowledge Musona and midfielder Ovidy Karuru in fresh match-fixing allegations.
Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa) chief executive officer Jonathan Mashingaidze claimed that Musona and Karuru – both key members of the Warriors – were involved in a match-fixing scam following Zimbabwe’s disappointing start to their 2014 World Cup qualifying campaign earlier this month.
Zimbabwe were beaten 1-0 by Guinea at home before drawing 0-0 away to Mozambique in their qualifiers.
In a heavily-worded statement, Gundani – the secretary general of the Football Union of Zimbabwe (FUZ) – accuses the Zifa leadership of hiding behind their own shortcomings.
“Zifa is now covering up its own shortcomings by blaming players for having been involved in match-fixing,” he said, according to Kickoff.com.
“The accused players in the national team are professionals in the various countries and leagues in which they are playing and are handsomely paid.“
Before the Mozambique game, the team missed out on training at the National Sports Stadium after which they were locked out of their hotel rooms and had their passports confiscated by hotel authorities due to non-payment of bills by the Football Association (Zifa).
”Gundani says the two players demonstrated their commitment to Zimbabwe despite carrying injuries.
"Knowledge Musona got an ankle injury during a training session, and Ovidy Karuru struggled with his shoulder, but both players went on to play both games, a clear show of determination and national pride.”
Zifa’s match-fixing accusations against the duo have also been slammed by the Zim Sport, Arts and Culture Minister David Coltart, who has urged the football body to focus on completing the probe into the dragging Asiagate scandal.
Ironically – in the face of the damaging criticism – Musona went on to score the solitary goal in Zimbabwe’s recent 1-0 victory over Burundi on June 17.
The German-based striker’s goal saw Zimbabwe advancing to the third round of the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers.