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Asiagate scandal


Former Premier Soccer League fixtures secretary Godfrey Japajapa says the former Zifa board led by Wellington Nyatanga had created a leadership vacuum during the “Asiagate” match-fixing games which saw the national association lose between $30 000 and $50 000 per game played.

Instead, he says, the association dealt in the fear factor using secret service operatives.

Japajapa made two trips with the Warriors to China and Vietnam and also the 2009 trip of shame by Monomotapa to Malaysia where they masqueraded as the senior national team and even used national colours.

In his submission before a Zifa investigating committee, Japajapa revealed that during the 2007 Merdeka Cup trip, Nyatanga acted as the head of the delegation for some of the 22 days the national team was away.

He then recounted how the association could have lost thousands of dollars in the scam.

“There is this football agent who resides in South Africa of coloured origin. This is also the same guy who helped out former national team coach Valinhos get a job with Free State Stars. He confided to me that when they organise matches between countries, each country benefits between $30 000 and $50 000. So these are the amounts that were supposedly paid to Zifa,” he said.

He added: “All the senior management personnel at Zifa headquarters knew what was happening through the benefits they were getting.

“The VP office (the late Joseph Msika’s office) CIO were used to instil fear in board members and councillors. Surely all those years we did not need CIO with our national team. They were there for selfish ends of individuals and not for the good of our football.”

During the Merdeka Cup, Japajapa said he received $2 200 as his allowances for the 22 days in Malaysia, where former Warriors coach Sunday Chidzambwa was the head honcho (the one in charge).

“When we left Harare, I had quite some money on me which I had distributed/spread amongst the players and that is the money I re-collected and bought my Mercedes Benz (with).

“Mine cost $5 500. I actually encouraged Sunday and Ernest Sibanda to buy their Mercs from the same shop. This shop belongs to a friend of mine in Singapore. Both bought their Mercs there. (Herald sports editor) Robson (Sharuko) bought household goods.”

Sharuko in his interview with the committee says he was also paid $2 200 as allowances for the duration of the tournament.

“We were paid $100 per day which came to $2 200 by the end of the tournament and also the players were paid the same. I was paid by Japajapa who said he had been given the money by the team manager.

“If there was effort to play to lose, then they beat me and all other media house reps like Reuters, AFP etc. Whatever smart game was played then it was played smart.

On the Vietnam trip, he said: “Zifa invited the media and they stipulated that that the media was going to foot their own allowances. While there, there were problems with players’ allowances and Benjani Mwaruwari was phoned by the CEO to assist.

“The HOD (head of delegation) for the Vietnam trip was (Henrietta) Rushwaya (the CEO), head coach was Luke Masomere, the floater was Japajapa because I don’t know what role he went in as. The CIO person also travelled with us. With the then prevailing Zifa, there was no board control and the CEO could do as she wished. Also Japajapa was friendly with Zifa people, ie, the president, CEO and board members as he was strategically positioning himself for a board member position in the next regime or even acting or co-opted capacity. He was already done with the PSL and so his target was board member in Zifa.”

On the China trip, which he says was organised by former Zifa chief executive Rushwaya, Japajapa said he had gone there on personal business.

“I deal a lot in Chinese imports in my business and I saw an opportunity. In China we were met by a Chinese FA delegation and I was given a taxi to use. I remember on the evening before our first match, Methembe (Ndlovu) approached me asking why he was being given an assistant coach who was Chinese. I advised him against it.

“On arrival at home, I reminded Nyatanga that in the last EGM, the board’s defence on these trips was that Zifa was being paid $10 000 per trip and all other allowances were paid by the hosting FA. I therefore asked him, Nyatanga, what Zifa had got from the Under-20 venture to China and he professed ignorance. Of note is that no action was taken by him as the president of Zifa Board.”

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