Football: Top Zimbabwe officials named in Asian match-fixing

HARARE, July 12, 2011 (AFP) - Former Zimbabwe national football team coach Sunday Chidzambwa and several top players are facing life bans after being named as suspects in a match-fixing scandal, state media said Tuesday.

Chidzambwa, a Zimbabwean football legend who captained the national side in its fist post-independence match, was one of several leading football figures named by state daily The Herald in a report on the Zimbabwe Football Association (ZIFA) probe on the alleged match-fixing scam.

"Zimbabwe's first captain and Warriors' history-making coach Sunday 'Mhofu' Chidzambwa faces a ban from the game that gave him fame following recommendations by the ZIFA probe to suspend the coaches who took part in all Asian tournaments," the newspaper said, citing ZIFA's report on the probe.

The scam, allegedly masterminded by former ZIFA chief executive Henrietta Rushwaya, involved a 2009 tour by the national team to play unsanctioned friendlies against Thailand, Syria and Malaysia linked to a betting syndicate.

Rushwaya, who was fired in October, is also accused of clearing former league champions Monomotapa to travel to Malaysia, where they masqueraded as the national team.

The Herald said several top officials and players had also been fingered in the investigation.

"The former programmes officer Jonathan Mashingaidze and the FIFA match agent Kudzi Shaba are implicated in the arranging of these games and benefitted financially, amounts that the committee could not establish," it said.

The newspaper said implicated players included Edward Sadomba, a striker at Sudanese top-flight side Al-Hilal, former national side captain Johannes Ngodzo and South African Premier League star Method Mwanjali.

Former national team coach Luke Masomere was also named alongside Chidzambwa, who is now coach of South African Premiership side Black Leopards.

Zimbabwe is currently under investigation by FIFA over the alleged match-fixing scam.

FIFA chief Sepp Blatter warned last week that players and officials found guilty in the ongoing probe would face life bans.

A FIFA anti-graft team was expected in Harare two weeks ago, but has delayed its arrival until later this month.

Other news