Zifa’s star witness in the match- fixing allegations in the Central Region, Cosmas Nyoni yesterday confirmed he was summoned to suspended Southern Region chairman Gift Banda’s office to explain the alleged unfavourable results of a match in the region.
Nyoni, who is facing charges of criminal defamation against Banda over statements he made about him in the media, said this after he was put on his defence.
His statements led to the suspension of Banda and Central Region chairman Patrick Hokonya from the Zifa board on allegations of match-fixing, a decision both say violated the constitution of the national association.
Nyoni averred during trial before Bulawayo magistrates Sophie Matimba the statement he gave to the media came from him and it was true and was not defamatory.
He pleaded not guilty and the matter is set to continue today. Nyoni is out of custody on his own cognisance. Banda and Samukeliso Silengane, the suspended acting Zifa Referees’ committee chairperson led evidence on Tuesday.
Robin Mukura for the State told the court that between November 30 and December 3, Nyoni supplied information to the Press to the effect he was summoned by Banda to his office after failing to deliver results from Central Region soccer league games due to match-fixing, which was not true.
He said Banda never met Nyoni over the games which were played on October 10.
It is alleged the story was published in the public media on December 3 under the headline Banda Lied — Cosmas Nyoni.
Meanwhile, Zifa Central Soccer League champions are likely to be crowned today when the Appeals Committee passes its verdict on Hardbody’s contesting of their stripping off of a staggering 42 points.
The busmen were last month found guilty of fraudulently registering midfielder Tatenda Chingara for the 2011 season in a ruling which deposed them from the top, to allow second-placed Tripple B to be briefly confirmed as champions.
But the ruling by the Central Region disciplinary committee in Gweru was withheld after Hardbody lodged an appeal.
Hardbody director Takesure Sibanda was also fined for attempted match-fixing, but Zifa, in all its wisdom, does not see his conviction as a crucial part of evidence in this appeal.