Zifa boss kidnapped

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Zifa chief executive officer Jonathan Mashingaidze was last week allegedly kidnapped by unknown people who accused him of being the mastermind of the ongoing Asiagate football match-fixing investigations.

One of the alleged kidnappers was still in custody last night and is expected to appear in court this morning.

Harare provincial police spokesperson Inspector James Sabau said he did not have the case record late yesterday.

Finer details of the ordeal the time, the location and the modus operandi of the alleged assailants are likely to be obtained today when the case goes to court.

Reliable sources confirmed to NewsDay yesterday that Mashingaidze was taken to a secluded spot just outside Harare under the cover of darkness on February 21 where he was told in no uncertain terms that he was on the hit list of people involved in investigating the alleged match-fixing.

He was also questioned on how Fifa president Sepp Blatter ended up visiting Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai on July 4 last year and was warned against his continued involvement in the match-fixing investigations.

Anybody who associates with the opposition is not fit to hold such a big office in Zimbabwean football, he was allegedly told in apparent reference to Blatters visit to Tsvangirai.

The suspect who is expected in court today was arrested on February 22 after Mashingaidze made a report at Avondale Police Station. He is expected to be charged with kidnapping and extortion.

The case number is CR144/12
The charges of extortion arise from the gangs alleged demands to Mashingaidze that he would have to pay up if wanted to know the so-called hit list.

The kidnapping of the Zifa chief executive comes barely two weeks after the arrest of former chief executive officer Henrietta Rushwaya by the Anti-Corruption Commission on charges of bribery, concealing information to a principal and corruption in relation to Asiagate.

She appeared in court on February 20 and was granted $500 bail and ordered to report twice a month to the police. Her bail conditions were relaxed last week after she applied for the release of her passport to enable her to travel to Dubai and South Africa.

Ninety-eight players have been suspended by Zifa on allegations of match-fixing and have been banned from all national call-ups until they clear their names with the Justice Ahmed Ebrahim-led Zifa Independent Disciplinary Ad-Hoc Committee.

Initially, 67 players had been suspended before Zifa president Cuthbert Dube narrowed the list to only three: Nyasha Mushekwi, Method Mwanjali (both of Mamelodi Sundowns) and Thomas Sweswe of Kaizer Chiefs.

Zifa later issued another statement confirming that all players who undertook trips to Asia between 2007 and 2009 had been suspended.

Zifa would like to confirm that all players fingered in the Asiagate scandal report are ineligible for call-ups for national teams until they are cleared by the Zifa Independent Disciplinary Ad-Hoc Committee.

The association invites the players in question to come forward and volunteer information on their involvement in the infamous trips between now and mid-February.

The information which the players shall volunteer shall be treated with the strictest confidentiality. Players willing to make appointments for the meetings with the association shall do so through the office of the chief executive officer.

The association would like to reiterate that the exclusion of the players fingered in the Asiagate report scandal is by no means a ban, but a temporary suspension until the players have been cleared by the Independent Disciplinary Committee, Dube said in a statement.

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