Zifa’s suspension of Central Region chairman Patrick Hokonya hit a brickwall yesterday when its star witness Cosmas Nyoni told the court that he never spoke to him about match-fixing.
Nyoni is appearing in court for criminal defamation against Southern Region chief Gift Banda, who was suspended together with Hokonya last Wednesday.
Nyoni had implicated both Banda and Hokonya in the match-fixing scam, but has been changing statements since he came to court.
Banda and Hokonya are challenging their suspension arguing that it violates the constitution of the national football association.
Nyoni said he never spoke to Hokonya about match-fixing during cross-examination by the prosecutor Robin Mukura on his second day on the witness stand in his defence case yesterday.
He allegedly said statements in the media which led to the suspension of Banda and Hokonya from the Zifa Board on allegations of match-fixing last week on Wednesday were true only to make a U-turn yesterday.
Nyoni, in his initial appearance before Bulawayo magistrate Sophie Matimba, declared that the statement he made to the media was true and was not defamatory.
He pleaded not guilty and the matter is set to continue on December 20 when Nyoni is expected to call his defence witnesses one of them being referee Martin Shoko.
Nyoni is out of custody of his own cognisance. Banda and Samukeliso Silengane, the suspended acting Zifa referees’ committee chairperson, led evidence on Tuesday.
Mukura 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 League due to match-fixing.
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.