WARRIORS captain Tapiwa Kapini yesterday said he was against the decision by Zifa to impose life bans on players for their alleged involvement in match-fixing in Asia in 2009 – now known as Asiagate – describing the punishment as “unfair and harsh”.
Report by Tawanda Tafirenyika Sports Correspondent
Speaking in an interview from his base in South Africa, the Warriors goalkeeper said he was prepared to risk his life against the ban on players, saying their lives depended on football.
He said he was against the decision by the Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa) to ban players from the game.
“I am prepared to put my head on the block against the decision to ban players from the game for life.
“Even two years, I think is harsh and unfair. As captain of the Warriors, friend and teammate, I feel pity for them because their lives depend on football,” said Kapini.
“What Zifa should have done was to ban them from playing for the national team, not to ban them for life. It’s hard and I feel for them.
“They stood behind me when I got injured and I also stand by them on this issue. Most of them are under 32 years of age and what are they going to do?
“Do they want them to start selling recharge cards or go to Mbare and sell tomatoes? We can talk about building a new team around junior teams, but this will not develop our football,” said Kapini. Zifa last week banned 15 players and officials from the game for life. Those affected included former Zifa chief executive Henrietta Rushwaya, former Warriors coach Sunday Chidzambwa, Mamelodi Sundowns defender Method Mwanjali, Danisa Phiri, Edmore Sibanda, Guthrie Zhokinyi and South Africa-based defender Thomas Sweswe.
The country’s soccer mother body is yet to officially reveal names of dozens of other players and officials who face suspensions of between six months and 10 years from the game.
The full list of those affected is expected to be officially released tomorrow. This follows an independent investigation headed by retired Supreme Court judge Justice Ahmed Ebrahim.
Ebrahim said the exact details of how the Zimbabwe teams were involved in the match-fixing may never be known, but claimed those behind the scam were driven by greed.