Zifa board member development and former Under-20 coach Methembe Ndlovu has said some of the statements reproduced about his trips to Asia, where allegations of football match-fixing took place, are not true.
Ndlovu, a former Highlanders player and championship winning coach, claimed he was under pressure from former Zifa chief executive officer Henrietta Rushwaya to undertake a trip to China in 2007. Rushwaya, in turn, has challenged anyone with evidence to come forward.
Yesterday, Ndlovu said in his brief response: “From what I have read in the newspaper accounts, some of those things did not certainly come from me.”
Ndlovu, in his appearance before the investigating committee, gave details of 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.”
Ndlovu also allegedly laid into former 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 orchestrators 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.
Wilson Raj Perumal, a Singaporean who was based in north London until his arrest in February, appeared in court with nine players – from Zambia and Georgia – to whom Perumal allegedly paid bribes of between £9 000 and £44 000 each to influence the outcome of matches. He was sentenced to two years yesterday.
Fifa believes Perumal also organised an infamous match last September, sending a fake Togo team to Bahrain for a friendly that the unwitting hosts easily won 3-0.