Former Under-20 coach Methembe Ndlovu says he was under pressure from former Zifa chief executive officer Henrietta Rushwaya to undertake a trip to China in 2007 where allegations of match-fixing surfaced.
The match is one of the games investigated by a Zifa committee on the numerous trips that took place between 2007 and 2009 and is mentioned in the final Asia gate report released on Tuesday.
Ndlovu made the remarks in an interview with Ndumiso Gumede, the chairman of the investigating committee, which also has Elliot Kasu, Benedict Moyo and Fungai Chihuri as members.
“I went to China in 2007 with the Under-23s as assistant coach. (Ms) Henrietta Rushwaya and Premier Soccer League secretary (fixtures) Godfrey Japajapa travelled with us. There was no team manager or head coach.
“I became head coach because Norman Mapeza who had selected the team did not come and when I phoned him at the airport he was not cooperative. But knowing his character I decided to leave him alone.”
Asked about the role of Japajapa and fired programmes officer Jonathan Musavengana, Ndlovu replied:
“To me he (Japajapa) said he was on holiday. What I know is that he stayed with the team as he was part of the delegation. He stayed where the team stayed. Also Musavengana was part of the delegation although I don’t know what role he was playing.” He gave details how he was called up to travel to China.
“I was in Cyprus sorting out the clearance for my player who had managed to secure a contract there. I phoned the Zifa CEO concerning the international clearance which should have been done long back. The CEO told me that I had to be on this trip since she was already looking for me.
“I was under immense pressure from the CEO since I had previously turned down national team assignments. She put me under so much pressure at the airport the only thing I thought of was to continue with the team that was never mine. Remember that my visa was processed a day before departure together with that of Japajapa.”
During the game, the alleged plot to fix the match was excuted.
“The Chinese delegate that was travelling with us came to me on the eve of the match and offered to have one of their personnel sitting on the technical bench with me since I did not have a head coach.
“I don’t know who had told them that, but I flatly refused to have anyone of them sitting on our bench. We lost the first game 5-0.”
Conerning allowances for the trip, Ndlovu said: “The CEO kept telling us that the Chinese FA was going to pay our allowances but I never saw any contract for the technical team and players.
The players refused to play the second game until the CEO paid $150 to each player. We lost the game and the referee played a part in our lose (sic).
“The CEO was always going alone eg the first game she went downstairs to the ATM and withdrew the money that she gave to me to give to players. (For) the second payment she went to the bank and withdrew whatever amount and paid out the delegation.
“She paid me $300 as spending money and a total of$800,” Ndlovu said.
His second trip was to Bulgaria for an Under-20 tournament where Sunday Chidzambwa took charge of the third game.
“There were problems on earnings whereby the HOD (a Makweva) was paid $700 while the technical team was paid $2 000. I was given $200 above the normal Zifa rates and my total earnings were $1 400.”
Ndlovu then laid into the Zifa president Wellington Nyatanga.
“It would be a great travesty of justice if the innocent were to be subjected to the same judgement as the orchestraters of these games. In my honest opinion, the previous board of Nyatanga should have checked out these games before they sent the teams to them. If there is anyone to be sanctioned it should be Nyatanga’s board,” Ndlovu added.