THE alleged football match-fixing syndicate involving former Zifa chief executive officer Henrietta Rushwaya, current executive committee member Edzai Kasinauyo, Zimbabwe national team assistant coach Nation Dube, former Warriors coach Ian Gorowa and co-ordinated by an unnamed brother of convicted mastermind Raj Perumal, planned to influence back-to-back defeats for Zimbabwe against Swaziland in their 2017 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers that will be played in the last week of the month.
BY KEVIN MAPASURE
Perumal admitted to fixing some of Zimbabwe’s matches in Asia in what became popularly known as the Asiagate scandal.
Zifa has said that information that they have gathered spells trouble for the syndicate.
According to Zifa, the information gathered so far shows that the syndicate wanted Zimbabwe to lose both the match in Mbabane on March 25 and the one at the National Sports Stadium on March 28.
Warriors goalkeeper Tatenda Mukuruva was the whistleblower after he had been approached to fix the result of the matches informing his coach Kalisto Pasuwa, who is believed to have conducted his own further investigations before informing the mother body.
Zifa is conducting its own investigation and yesterday association president Phillip Chiyangwa told a Press conference that they had gathered overwhelming evidence in the form of emails, text and WhatsApp messages as well as phone call recordings.
They are, however, continuing with information-gathering and have two more witnesses whom they expect in the country today.
South African Football Association (Safa) officials are also expected in Zimbabwe today to interview key witnesses in a scam that is believed to be affecting that country’s top-flight league.
Chiyangwa said that Rushwaya, who was a key figure in the Asiagate match-fixing scandal, is also central to the latest episode to hit Zimbabwean football.
It is believed that some matches involving Zimbabwe were fixed since 2010 with some of the 2016 Chan tournament games having been affected as well.
Zimbabwe finished the tournament with just one point in Group D where they lost to both Zambia and Mali before they drew with Uganda to exit in the Group stages.
“The information that we have is that Raj Perumal’s brother is the central figure who has been working with Henrietta Rushwaya, Ian Gorowa, Nation Dube and Edzai Kasinauyo this side,” Chiyangwa said.
“They have been fixing matches involving our national team and some are fully operational in the South African top-flight league. From what we gather, they also influenced results of some of our matches at the Chan tournament with Dube co-ordinating. We have got lots of evidence in the form of emails, phone call recordings, messages as well as pictures. We will continue to gather evidence and the South Africans are coming to conduct their own investigations.”
Zifa expects to have put this matter to finality by the end of the month when they hold their congress.
“We will deal with the matter through our disciplinary and ethics committees and we have competent people to see through this matter. The police may also want to come in based on the evidence that we have, but what I can tell is that we have enough to nail these people,” Chiyangwa said.
He said that their lawyers were gathering information from their witnesses, adding that coach Pasuwa had a signed affidavit giving evidence where he implicated the coaches and officials.
Mukuruva, who is one of the key witnesses, did the same.
It is believed Dube is the one who co-ordinated everything at the Chan finals in Rwanda in January and some players who made that trip could be implicated.
According to Chiyangwa, Zifa delayed the announcement of the Warriors squad for the Swaziland match after somebody had whispered to them about the plan to fix the match.
“I personally blocked the announcement of the training squad for that match because we had been informed of these people’s intentions.
“They were desperate to get the list so that they could contact players. When I blocked it, Edzai was running around to try and find out who was on that list, they needed it in South Africa.”
He added that all those who will be found to have known anything about matches that were fixed and did not make a report would also be in trouble.
“All the people that are involved in this are in big trouble. Even those that knew about these things and did not make a report are also going down.”
Yesterday, Caf said that they were keen to get more evidence particularly to check whether the match officials that have been assigned for this match had not also been approached.
“We confirm receipt of your letter suspending the concerned member of your EXCO (executive committee) in relation to the matches concerned,” Caf secretary-general Hicham El Amrani wrote to Zifa chief executive officer Jonathan Mashingaidze yesterday.
“Please take note of the following: Caf would like to receive more details in relation to this case, especially in relation to the persons involved, and to ensure as well whether the match officials appointed for match 75 Swaziland vs Zimbabwe and match 101 Zimbabwe vs Swaziland have been contacted or approached for us to take action. Caf will be in close contact with Fifa to activate the right steps in relation to these matches.”