The supposed protagonist in the Zifagate match-fixing scandal, Wilson Raj Perumal, on Thursday expressed shock at the fact that Zifa concluded their investigations without hearing his side of the story.
Perumal, a Singapore-based football agent, is believed to be at the centre of the alleged match- fixing and betting syndicates which has seen three Zifa employees, chief executive officer Henrietta Rushwaya, programmes officer Jonathan Mashingaidze and marketing officer Harry Taruva, being suspended.
A Zifa board enquiry headed by vice-president Ndumiso Gumede has since produced a damning report which has fingered Rushwaya, Musavengana, Warriors players, the technical team and a number of local referees.
Speaking to NewsDay on Thursday, Perumal, who is at the centre of the storm, claimed his company dealt with Zimbabwe in a professional way.
He said: “It’s nice to know Zifa can come to a conclusion that I’m the mastermind without listening to my side of the story.
Justice can only be served after you hear from all concerned parties .
Zifa sent official papers to the Thailand FA and Malaysia FA indicating their interest to play these matches.
It is believable to lose a match by 1-0 precisely.
“No one with football knowledge will ask for such a scoreline.
And the threat from Asian syndicates is a joke.
The Zimbabwe team, when they were in Malaysia never wanted to set foot onto the pitch unless they were paid appearance fees.
The Malaysian officials had to practically beg the players to start the match.
Even then the team would not budge.
We then did our best to arrange $10 000 in appearance fees for them to start the match and they did after receiving money.”
Responding to allegations that he threatened the Zimbabwe contingent after they lost 3-0 to Thailand in their opening match of the jaunt in Bangkok, Perumal said:
“If there was someone being threatened, then it certainly wasn’t the Zimbabwe players but it was us.
When we say us I refer to my company.
We brought Zifa to Jordan and they were paid $30 000 in appearance money.”
Perumal, according to affidavits by players and officials who travelled to the Asian countries, was angered by the 3-0 scoreline instead of 1-0 which resulted in him losing “millions” of dollars.
The Asian confirms working with Zifa in the past.
“We have worked with Zifa and given the young players from Zimbabwe the opportunity to travel and impress clubs abroad.
These are things Zifa would never have done. The only trips Zifa make are for Caf matches.
Rushwaya made history when she brought Brazil to play in Zimbabwe,” said Perumal.
He also attacked Malawian football agent Felix Sapao who said last month that Perumal, in cahoots with Rushwaya, had contacted him to fix matches for his native country.
Perumal said: “One clown called Felix made these allegations after a good one year when he first met me.
I have an email from Felix asking for $60 000 to fix TP Mazembe players for the World Club Championship in Dubai.
I ignored his mail and never contacted him after that.”
The Asian, who claims to run a sports consultancy company in Singapore, also confirmed that he was convicted for match-fixing.
“I was charged in Singapore for conspiring to fix matches but was acquitted on nine match-fixing charges.
The presiding judicial commissioner found that the prosecution had fabricated nine charges against me and acquitted me on all the charges,” he said.