Zimbabwe Players Face Suspensions And Bans Over Match Fixing In Asia

A report that has leaked to the media has found Warriors players culpable for fixing friendly matches in Asia last year.

Zimbabwe’s national team players may face massive suspensions, which include lengthy debarment and life bans, amid stunning revelations over match-fixing syndicates in Asia.

The players stand to be sanctioned by local football governing body Zifa and FIFA.

Zifa's commission of inquiry headed by the association's vice-president Ndumiso Gumede and including board members Elliot Kasu and Benedict Moyo completed months of investigating the Warriors' controversial trip to Thailand in December last year.

According to the Herald, Zifa are under pressure to implement FIFA's Disciplinary Code of Conduct and hand down punishment to those found guilty of having played a part in manipulating match results.

The players who featured for Warriors during the trips to Asia such as vice-captain Method Mwanjali, Nyasha Mushekwi, Cuthbert Malajila, Benjamin Marere, Mthulisi Maphosa, Phillip Marufu, Willard Manyatera, Zephaniah Ngodzo, Daniel Veremu and Washington Arubi risk either being suspended or banned depending on the extent to which they would have been found to have influenced the outcome of the matches.

Coaches who headed the technical teams on the different trips to the Far East who include the Warriors' most-successful coach Sunday Chidzambwa, Emmanuel Nyahuma, Luke Masomere, Methembe Ndlovu and Joey Antipas could also be penalised when the Zifa board and the Zifa assembly meet to review the Gumede report, which has been leaked to the media.

The sanctions which are recommended by the FIFA Disciplinary Code, would leave Zifa in a quandary with regards to the Warriors current team given that some of the players are key to the national side's 2012 African Cup of Nations campaign

Gumede said although their initial mandate had been to investigate the controversial December 29 trip, the testimonies they received had forced them to look beyond just the trip to Thailand and they revisited some of the Warriors visits to other Asian countries like Malaysia, Jordan, Yemen and Oman.

"We were investigating why the national team left in December at a time when the players should have been with their families as it was during the festive holidays. We wanted to find out what the real incentive was to such an extent that the team ignored all the directives and the advice that they should not go to Thailand.

"It is during the course of trying to find those reasons when all the other things came up and it was coincidental. We then started to look backwards to previous trips and like I said before it was like we had opened a Pandora's Box.

"It is not as if the alleged betting syndicates started with the team's trip to Merdeka (Malaysia in 2007), it is mere conjecture that things that happened before the December 29 trip may have influenced all the trips that came up later but we don't know when exactly the match-fixing syndicates started.

"In the end we looked at such trips like Monomotapa's visit to Malaysia, the Cecafa tournament where Norman Mapeza (coach of Warriors Cecafa squad) admitted to have been approached by some betting agents.

"We cannot categorically say betting syndicates started with the Merdeka Cup, but our investigations seem to link that tournament to have inspired some people because those who travelled there returned with huge sums of money, some in excess of US$10 000 and some bought expensive cars," Gumede said.

Gumede, however, said it was not his committee's prerogative to decide the kind of punishment to be meted out to the players and those implicated in the scam.

But Gumede said Zifa had drawn the ire of FIFA when they had earlier recommended just a reprimand of the players and the coaches with the world football governing body reportedly having insisted that the association should fully apply the code of conduct.

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