Warriors captain Method Mwanjali says the Zifa investigating committee on the Asiagate match fixing scam must be given space to carry out their duty if the truth and not assumption is to rule in the saga that has attracted worldwide attention.
According to the report released last week, Mwanjali, now at Mamelodi Sundowns in South Africa, took part in seven matches having made trips to Oman, Vietnam and South Africa for a 2010 World Cup preparatory match against Japan and Finland.
He dismissed the allegations against him after he gave an interview to the committee in the first report.
The investigating committee was chaired by Ndumiso Gumede and had Elliot Kasu, Benedict Moyo and Fungai Chihuri as members.
In response to the allegations, Mwanjali said: “I will give them the space to carry out their investigations and at the end the truth and not assumption will rule. The things I’m said to have done or confessed are new to me.”
He said it was not a crime to be the captain of the national team.
“I have been reading their reports and my name is painted badly for things I did not do, it seems to be a crime to be captain yet it’s they who chose me. And I have always done my best when it comes to national team assignments,” he said.
In his first interview with the investigating committee, Mwanjali, quizzed on the December 2009 trip to Malaysia pointed out that former Zifa programmes officer Jonathan Musavengana was brains behind the scam.
“All I can remember is that there was no one official from the FA, but Musa (Musavengana) held a meeting with all players at the hotel soon after arrival. He told us that we were going to be introduced and meet guys from Singapore who were going to offer us money for losing matchers according to their instructions.
“It was my first time to hear such a thing and also it was my first time to be in Malaysia. I therefore asked him as the team captain why we had to do such an abominable thing to our nation. Musavengana is said to have said it was “money-making time”.
“He said Zifa had no money to give us and therefore we had to raise our allowances and upkeep this way. Also this is how things were done whenever a team came to Malaysia for these games. It was money-making time. He told us to lose by a certain number of goals against Thailand so as to get our money or allowances.”
They were promised, by kelong king Wilson Raj Perumal who is languishing in a Finnish prison, that they would be $3 000 richer per player if they conceded the first goal against Thailand in the 20th minute. But they managed to concede one in the 44th minute and Perumal blew his top.
Zimbabwe lost 3-0 and got nothing as the scoreline was wrong. In the second match they played a normal game and won 3-0 and got $500 each.
In the third against Syria, they lost 6-0 as per instruction and were paid $1 000 each at the Kuala Lumpur airport on their way back home.
The committee has since come up with recommendations on how to deal with the issue. Zifa president Cuthbert Dube has remained silent on the issue and has not even come to the defence of the committee, which is being accused of misquoting some interviewees.