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Asia trip: Zifa enlist Fifa

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The probe into an unsanctioned trip to Asia by the senior national soccer team has sucked in the Federation of International Football Associations (Fifa).

Addressing a press conference yesterday, Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa) vice-president Ndumiso Gumede said they have written to the world football governing body to help them track down the betting syndicates in Asia.

“We have written to Fifa so that they assist in tracking down the syndicates who have been implicated in our report.

“We understand the Confederation of African Football (Caf) wrote to the previous Zifa board telling them they were aware that Zimbabwe was engaging in match fixing,” said the veteran administrator. Gumede said those who had refused to co-operate with his team face being banned from sport totally.

He said: “We have recommended that those who did not want to co-operate with the investigation team be banned completely out of sport be it cricket or rugby because the virus has to stop.

“The bottom line is that this sad story has affected our football. From our investigation we learnt that the money which was being paid to the players was very high, far higher than what local clubs give to their players.

“The players concentrated on match fixing instead of playing football.

At some point these players refused to play unless they were paid handsomely.”

Among other things, Gumede said, the Sports and Recreation Commission (SRC) wanted to know what motivated the team to go without their clearance, how much Zifa got for the matches and the head of delegation report.

The probe team comprises of Gumede, Benedict Moyo, who is the board member (competitions), Elliot Kasu (finance) and Methembe Ndlovu (development).

The investigations have since claimed the jobs of three key Zifa employees who have been suspended for various reasons but stemming from the trip.
They are chief executive officer Henrietta Rushwaya, programmes officer Jonathan Musavengana and marketing officer Harry Taruva.

Musavengana was re-suspended last Friday after he had resumed duties after 14 days had elapsed without any charges preferred against him.

According to the letter of suspension written by acting chief executive officer Jonathan Mashingaidze, Musavengana was re-suspended following “allegations of misconduct bordering on criminality.”

Part of the letter read: “(a) Travelled to Asia with the Zimbabwe national soccer team in flagrant defiance of a Zifa assembly and board resolution not to travel; (and) (b)Interfered and continue to interfere with investigations into the Asia trip.”

Rushwaya, Taruva and Musavengana have been told that they “shall not be permitted to visit the Zifa offices or interfere with investigations and witnesses more particularly, but not limited to Zifa employees and national team employers.”

According to Zifa president Cuthbert Dube, the decision to suspend Rushwaya was necessitated by acts of mismanagement, and serious irregularities surrounding the national team’s trip to Asia in December 2009.

Taruva’s charges were “(a) Converted Zifa accreditation cards funds into your own use; (b) Made irresponsible statements in your capacity as the Youth Olympic manager (and) (c) interfered and continue to interfere with investigations into the Asia trip.”

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