The Zimbabwe Football Association (ZIFA) has handed life bans to 15 players and officials, including the national team’s former coach and captain, for their part in a long-running match-fixing scandal.
Reuters reports that former-coach Sunday Chidzambwa and ex-skipper Method Mwanjali were found by a year-long independent investigation to have conspired with an Asian betting syndicate when Zimbabwe played friendlies in Asia between 2007 and 2009. An official report stated that games were fixed by ZIFA officials in association with convicted match-fixer Wilson Perumal.
Former ZIFA general secretary Henrietta Rushwaya, who has already faced criminal prosecution for her part in the corruption scandal, and Zimbabwe goalkeeper Edmore Siyanda were also among the 15 handed the life bans. Chidzambwa, a former coach and captain of Zimbabwe, is one of the country’s highest-profile sporting figures and currently coaches South African Premier Soccer League club Black Leopards. Mwanjali plays for top South African team Mamelodi Sundowns.
The investigation has cited a total of 93 players, coaches and officials, with Zimbabwe’s Minister of Education, Sport, Arts and Culture, David Coltart, calling for the prosecution of individuals who have been handed life bans. “I fully support ZIFA’s decision to serve life bans on various players and administrators responsible for what is undoubtedly the most shameful chapter of Zimbabwe’s sporting history,” said Coltart, according to Zimbabwean newspaper The Standard. “I trust that the police and the Attorney General will now act quickly to investigate and prosecute those identified. If they do not, then their offices will also be tainted by this scandal. I have no doubt that the football-loving public expects that those responsible for criminal activity should face the full wrath of the law.”