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Mushekwi escapes life ban from football

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FORMER Warriors striker Nyasha Mushekwi has reportedly escaped a life ban from all football activities for his alleged involvement in the Asiagate match-fixing scandal after it emerged he had volunteered information on the Asia trips.
BY SPORTS REPORTER

The Mamelodi Sundowns striker has been named as a core figure after his participation in nine matches in Asia, but sources said he had received a reprieve and would now face an unspecified ban.

He was part of the 13 people recommended for life bans by the Independent Ethics Committee chaired by retired Supreme Court judge Justice Ahmed Ebrahim, who released their final report to the Zifa Board on Tuesday.

Former Zifa chief executive officer Henrietta Rushwaya, ex-Warriors coach Sunday Chidzambwa, former Premier Soccer League fixtures secretary Godfrey Japajapa and former national association programmes officer Jonathan Musavengana are expected to receive life bans.

Chidzambwa is now the head coach of South African Premier League side Black Leopards.

Match agent Kudzi Shaba, former Monomotapa coach Rodwell Dhlakama, now based in Swaziland, and fitness trainer Thompson Matenda are also expected to receive life bans.

Former Njube Sundowns, Dynamos, Highlanders and Bantu Rovers defender Danisa Phiri, axed Caps United goalkeeper Edmore Sibanda, Dynamos defender Guthrie Zhokinyi, Sundowns defender Method Mwanjali and Bidvest Wits defender Thomas Sweswe form part of the banned crew, according to sources.

“As these are recommendations and not directives, we have gone through the list and saw it fit that he (Mushekwi) receive a reprieve and not a life ban as he volunteered information and said everything that he knew on his free will,” one of the sources said.

Another source said: “We are also looking at some of the bans and suspensions and, of course, there will be changes here and there because some of players were just too young when they went out there and were under pressure and serious threats.”

According to the recommended sanctions, the 13 were banned for life; seven banned for 10 years each, while 37 players and officials received five-year bans from all football officials.

A total of 25 players received two-year bans, two received two-year suspended bans, six were banned for one year, while a further two had a suspended one-year sentence. One was banned for six months, while a further eight players were cleared.

World football governing body Fifa has already been briefed on the final report with copies also sent to Cosafa and continental body, the Confederation of African Football. The Ministry of Education, Sport, Arts and Culture and the Sports and Recreation Commission have also received the report.

All the implicated persons will also get a copy of the report.

Ebrahim said in his Press release on Tuesday: “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 efforts 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.

“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.”

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