ZIFA has banned match commissioner Moffat Tembo and referee Washington Mafirovanda from all football activities for 10 and six years respectively after they were found guilty of match-fixing in the Northern Region Division One League.
The cases against the two involve leaders Flame Lily, who were complainants in one of the cases, Chegutu Pirates and Ngezi Platinum.
The Zifa referees’ committee is chaired by veteran referee Brighton Mudzamiri.
According to a statement released on the Zifa official website www.zifa.org.zw yesterday, Tembo was charged in terms of Paragraph 17.0 of the Zifa standing orders read with the Zifa referees committee code of conduct and the Zimbabwe Football Association Rules and Regulations which state that “it is an offence to facilitate or accept any favours calculating to influence the result of a match to which one has been appointed, including matches to which one has not been appointed”.
The referees committee rules and regulations imposes a ban in the range of two (2) to ten (10) years for an offence of this magnitude. His ban took effect from 15 October 2014 and it will end on October 15 2024.”
The judgement reads: “During this period of banishment, Tembo is barred from attending all Zifa sanctioned matches as his presence at these matches is likely to influence the outcome of those matches. He is also banned from interacting with any soccer referees.
The Mudzamiri-led committee also ruled that upon expiry of his period of suspension, if the accused wishes to bounce back into football, he will do so through an application to the Zifa board.
The disciplinary committee heard that Tembo attempted to drag the match officials during a World Navi Northern Region division one match between Chegutu Pirates and Ngezi Platinum into match-fixing when he offered them $300 if they could assist Chegutu Pirates to victory.
The referees notified the match commissioner of the day, Obert Mamvura, who is also the Zifa referees’ desk manager and the case was directed to the
disciplinary committee which found the accused guilty despite his initial plea of “Not guilty”.
Eventually, Tembo admitted to folding to pressure from some unnamed Chegutu politicians who were desperately trying to save Chegutu Pirates from relegation by attempting to fix matches.
“The disciplinary committee applauded the act of honesty and bravery exhibited by the match day officials namely, Nomore Musundire, Asthma Mataya and John Maruve in recognising resisting and reporting all forms of match fixing,” the judgement read.
On Mafirovanda, the match official was also found guilty for contravening Paragraph 17.0 of the Zifa standing orders and he will be away from football for six years with effect from the 1st of September 2014 to August 30 2019. Conditions of his ban are similar to those of the banished former match commissioner, Tembo.
In a hearing conducted on September 11, Mafirovanda was found guilty of attempting to solicit for financial benefits from a Flame Lilly official in return for favourable decisions for the team after he was notified of his appointment as the second assistant referee for a match pitting Flame Lily and Seven Flames.
Mafirovanda’s heinous deed came to light when, Flame Lilly officials, realising that the former’s decisions were biased, lodged a complaint with the referees committee.
The accused is alleged to have exchanged WhatsApp messages with a Flame Lily official only identified as Mutame suggesting that he would convince the centre official to throw favours for Flame Lily.
The match took place on June 29 with Godfrey Duncan in the center while Tafireyi Phiri was the first assistant.
After his guilty plea, the committee comprising of Mudzamiri, Martin Gambanga, Abednico Mugadza and David Ticharwa handed Mafirovanda a six-year ban.
“In conclusion, the committee would like to Flame Lily and its officials for exposing the cancerous trend that left our game degenerated a few years back.
“At the same time we encourage other club officials to flush out those whore in the habit of engaging in corrupt activities so as to exorcise the match-fixing ghost,” the judgement reads.
Both judgements stressed the vitality of setting precedents for future offenders while nipping match fixing tendencies in the bud since the Zimbabwean football fraternity is still nursing the scars of the shattering Asiagate scandal.
— Sports Reporter/zifa.org.zw