EIGHT disgraced football officials, five players and two journalists have been banned for life for their alleged involvement in the Asiagate match-fixing scandal while 13 players have been cleared.
REPORT BY WELLINGTON TONI SPORTS EDITOR
All the bans are with immediate effect and the list was last night dispatched to all clubs in the Castle Lager Premier Soccer League.
“The bans shall come into force on the day they are made public,” the Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa) said in a statement.
Zifa president Cuthbert Dube yesterday released the first official list of the life bans in a move that could trigger a raft of other punitive measures from the players and officials’ current employers.
In the next few weeks, Dube added Zifa would also release a list of players and officials cleared and those banned for 10, five, three, two and one year as the scandal finally closes, three years after the investigations were launched.
As disclosed by NewsDay yesterday, former Zifa chief executive officer Henrietta Rushwaya, former programmes officer Jonathan Musavengana, former Warriors coach Sunday Chidzambwa and ex-Monomotapa coach Rodwell Dhlakama received life bans.
Former Premier Soccer League fixtures secretary Godfrey Japajapa, goalkeepers coach Emmanuel Nyahuma, match agent Kudzi Shaba, fitness trainer Thompson Matenda and journalists Robson Sharuko and Hope Chizuzu were also proscribed for life as well as five players.
The banned players are former Warriors captain Method Mwanjali, axed Caps United goalkeeper Edmore Sibanda, Bidvest Wits defender Thomas Sweswe, former Njube Sundowns defender Danisa Phiri and Dynamos defender Guthrie Zhokinyi.
Sweswe joined Bidvest from Kaizer Chiefs at the start of this season while Mwanjali, who has captained Sundowns before, could see his career go up in smoke after club boss Patrice Motsepe spoke strongly against Asiagate.
“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 over this scandal. It is very important for Sundowns and South Africa to recognise the efforts of our Zimbabwean neighbours in trying to clean up football. We have an obligation to complement that with all that is possible.
“We cannot pretend it’s not there or doesn’t 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,” Motsepe told the South African media early this year.
Yesterday, Dube said: “The dark period should be consigned to history’s dumpsite and it is incumbent upon the entire family of football to jealously safeguard the beautiful game of football from the enemies of football.
“Let us not wait for this long to name and shame individuals who have no respect for our game’s ethos. We say zero tolerance to match-fixing and illegal betting. Zifa will release lists of players and officials who have been banned, in batches in October and November 2012, since the board has to handle pronouncements of the bans in a meticulous manner.”
According to Fifa disciplinary code Section 16 (unlawfully influencing match officials and results), match-fixing also attracts a fine of $16 249 (CHF15 000) in addition to the life bans.
Section (10) of the Fifa disciplinary code reads: “Anyone who conspires to influence the result of a match in a manner contrary to sporting ethics shall be sanctioned with a match suspension or ban on taking part in any football-related activity as well as a fine of at least CHF15 000. In serious cases, a lifetime ban on taking part in any football-related activity shall be imposed. However, those banned may appeal to Fifa in three days after lodging a fee of CHF3 000. If their appeal is turned down, they may turn to the Court of Sport Arbitration.” In August, Fifa and Cosafa held a regional workshop on match-fixing where Zimbabwe was under the spotlight while it was also disclosed that the scourge was taking root in South Africa.
The alleged Asian match-fixing mastermind Wilson Raj Perumal was jailed for two years in Finland, together with six Zambian players after they fixed matches in that country’s top-flight league.
The sanctions were extended to a worldwide ban by Fifa, following an appeal process which saw the players suspended.
In Italy, Juventus coach Antonio Conte was banned for 10 months following allegations of match-fixing related to his time in charge of Siena in the 2010-11 season.
But after he appealed to the Italian Olympic Committee, the ban was reduced to four months and he will be free to take his place on the bench for the Serie A champions in December.
List of banned players and officials
Henrietta Rushwaya, Jonathan Musavengana, Kudzai Shabba, Sunday Chidzambwa, Thompson Matenda, Godfrey Japajapa, Rodwell Dhlakama, Emmanuel Nyahuma, Robson Sharuko, Edmore Sibanda, Danisa Phiri, Thomas Sweswe, Guthrie Zhokinyi, Method Mwanjali, Hope Chizuzu
Exonerated players and officials
Gilbert Banda, Justice Majabvi, Richard Mteki, Energy Murambadoro, Costa Nhamoinesu, Kingston Nkhatha, Washington Pakamisa, Edward Sadomba, David Kutyauripo, Lincoln Zvasiya, Cuthbert Malajila, Willard Manyatera, Brighton Tuwaya, Edward Chagonda, Cyril Mukweva, Solomon Makuvaro