HomeSportSoccerSundowns speak on Asiagate

Sundowns speak on Asiagate

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Mamelodi Sundowns owner Patrice Motsepe has dropped the strongest hint ever that the South African Premiership football club will take action on defender Method Mwanjali and striker Nyasha Mushekwi over their alleged involvement in the Asiagate match-fixing scam.

The pair has been suspended from all national team call-ups until they clear their names with the Zifa Independent Ad Hoc Disciplinary Committee by the end of March.

Both players were specifically fingered by Zifa president Cuthbert Dube in Zimbabwes 2-1 loss to Cape Verde Islands in the penultimate qualifier for the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations-a loss which eventually cost the Warriors a dance in the just-ended competition.

A total of 98 players have been suspended following the allegations while coach Norman Mapeza, his assistant Joey Antipas, board members Methembe Ndlovu, Solomon Mugavazi and Kenny Marange have also been told to step aside and clear their names.

The allegations have also seen former Zifa chief executive officer Henrietta Rushwaya being dragged to court for concealing information to a principal, corruption and bribery and will appear next Monday after being bailed out last week.

World soccer governing body Fifa have said they are closely monitoring the developments.

Dube met Fifa president Sepp Blatter during the Afcon final in Gabon to brief him on progress on Asiagate and the general state of football in Zimbabwe.

Speaking at Sundowns Chloorkop offices after unveiling a three-year sponsorship deal with Honda of 20 cars, Motsepe told the media gathered for the event that match-fixing must be dealt with severely.

We are a high-profile team and a big brand. We have a legal and moral duty not to condone this type of shenanigans. Sundowns must act on this and we have taken the initiative to start engaging those players in the club who were named and suspended by the Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa) over this scandal.

It is very important for Sundowns and South Africa to recognise the efforts of our Zimbabwe neighbours in trying to clean up football. We have an obligation to complement that with all that is possible.

We cannot pretend its not there or doesnt happen, so we must protect our brand and protect the South African image, that is why we are going to deal with this in a serious manner. However, that is as far as I can say for now on this issue as we continue to look at it, said Motsepe.

The billionaire, a qualified lawyer, however stressed he would only get involved next month when the committee completes its investigations and when evidence has been presented before him. This could turn out to be an olive branch to the players since it has proven difficult to get match-fixing evidence.

The club has been engaging with the players and lets wait until March, where I will get involved at that time when the evidence is before me.

Sundowns are also home to Lionel Mtizwa, who was also suspended, striker Simba Sithole and midfielder Esrom Nyandoro.

Previously, Motsepe has promised his clubs cooperation in the investigations. Mwanjali and Mushekwi have also stated that while they gave statements on their alleged participation to a Zifa investigating committee, some of their submissions contained in the report had been misinterpreted.

The pair has duly been omitted from the squad named by interim coach Rahman Gumbo for the 2013 Afcon qualifier against Burundi on February 29.

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