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Asiagate: World kept waiting again

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THE nation was kept waiting again yesterday for the names of the guilty players and officials following the release of the final Asiagate report in which 13 officials and players received life bans for their alleged involvement in the match-fixing scandal.

REPORT BY WELLINGTON TONI SPORTS EDITOR

Names of the guilty parties were not released yesterday. After receiving the report from Ethics Committee chairman Justice Ahmed Ebrahim, the Zifa board immediately went into a closed door meeting as they perused the report.

Zifa president Cuthbert Dube chaired the meeting. Also present were vice-president Ndumiso Gumede, board members marketing, finance and competitions respectively Nigel Munyati, Elliot Kasu and Benedict Moyo, Eastern Region boss Fungai Chihuri, Premier Soccer League chairman Twine Phiri and ex-officio member and chief executive Jonathan Mashingaidze.

Other board members from the region were also expected to join the meeting. The meeting adjourned for lunch before the sealed reports could be opened. A source who spoke to NewsDay Sport said they were expecting to finish late last night.

“I think we will finish at 10pm today (yesterday). A Press conference could be called tomorrow (today) for the announcement of names,” the source said.

Speaking after the presentation of the report where the media was not allowed any questions, Dube said his board was ready for any litigation that could follow once the names are released.

“Zifa is ready for any litigation that will come as a result of this report,” he said.

A copy each will be sent to the world football governing board Fifa, the Confederation of African Football, and the regional body, Cosafa. The Ministry of Education, Sport, Arts and Culture and the Sports and Recreation Commission will also receive the  report.

All the implicated players and officials will also get a copy each, while the rest will be made available to the media.

Justice Ebrahim said in his Press release: “We have faced legal challenges to curtail our existence as a committee, in the form of an application for us to recuse ourselves. We have been taken to court in an attempt to stop us from proceeding and there has also been an urgent application in an attempt to interdict us through the courts from continuing with our inquiry.

“From day one there has been calculated effort for witnesses we have wished to interview in refusing to co-operate. We have had to use all our skills to circumvent these machinations and today, I can inform you that we have nine box files containing approximately 4 000-4 500 pages of exhibits and the evidence of some 115 witnesses.”

He added: “The exact intricate details of how the Zimbabwe teams initially became involved with a match-fixing and betting scandal which was organised by a man named Wilson Raj Perumal may never be known.

“It has been our firm belief that Raj was introduced to the Zimbabwe team by some existing members of the Zifa hierarchy at some stage several years ago. Once allowed into the inner sanctum of the systems, he was placed in a position to manipulate match-fixing whichever way and in whatever manner he so wished.

“This, of course, was to the illegal financial gain of not only himself and his syndicate, but to the Zifa officials who eventually became tried and tested and were permitted participation in these activities.

“It was simultaneously to the detriment of some of the young, innocent and uneducated players. Some of the officials and players will undoubtedly have their football futures ruined by these greedy, despicable, ruthless and unfeeling miscreants.”

List of players and officials cleared so far: Asani Nhongo, Brighton Tuwaya, Christopher Samakweri, Brian Katsuruware, Edwin Nkomo, Evans Chikwaikwai, Jose Valinhos, Gilbert Mushangazhike, Max Nyamupanedengu Ovidy Karuru, Khama Billiat, Oscar Machapa, Willard Katsande, Thembani Masuku, Hardlife Zvirekwi, Khumbulani Banda, Charles Chiutsa Martin Vengesai, Milton Ncube, Collin Ncube, Nicholas Alifandika, Milton Makopa, Augustine Mbara, Nyasha Mukumbi, Thabani Goredema, Marshal Matenda, Last Chibwiro, Tawanda Muparati, Pride Zireni, Rex Mabeza, Arthur Mafusire Ronald Sengu, Kennedy Chirwa, Hardlife Mawundi, Mthulisi Maphosa, Justice Majabvi, Energy Murambadoro, Ephraim Mazarura, Edward Sadomba, Costa Nhamoinesu, Kingston Nkatha, Lincoln Zvasiya, Cliff Sekete

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