The founder of the Zimbabwe National Soccer Supporters Association, Eddie “Mboma” Nyatanga has called for the reinstatement of Asiagate bans on those who have been implicated in the latest match-fixing scandal.
By Michael Kariati
Nyatanga claims they had, on humanitarian grounds, advised Zimbabwe Football Association president Phillip Chiyangwa to lift Asiagate bans after realising that the sidelined coaches and players were suffering without their sole means of survival.
However, the football supporters’ chief says their suggestion has turned out to be a huge blunder as the pardoned individuals have proved to be unrepentant characters that should be thrown out of football for good.
Nyatanga said not everyone whose Asiagate ban was lifted should take the heavy punishment, but only those whose names had reappeared in the latest scandal.
“It was our idea to have them pardoned but we didn’t know that we were making a huge mistake. These people are unrepentant. This time the snakes’ heads should be crushed. Their Asiagate bans should be reinstated and more punishment meted out,” said Nyatanga.
A number of people, among them former Zifa chief executive officer Henrietta Rushwaya and player agent Kudzai Shabba — whose Asiagate bans were lifted in January — have been fingered in the latest match-fixing scandal involving national team games and Absa Premiership matches.
Rushwaya has, however, denied any involvement, claiming she was working undercover to expose the match-fixers and that she had informed former Fifa security man Terrence John Stearns of her activities.
Former Warriors coach Ian Gorowa, whose team was knocked out of the preliminary stages of the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations, has also been dragged into the matter which has already claimed the scalp of Zifa board member Edzai Kasinauyo and Warriors assistant coach Nation Dube.
The Zimbabwe Republic Police are already handling the other side of the investigations.
Nyatanga said the ongoing investigations were a test case for the new Zifa regime, adding that the football body should deal decisively with match-fixing as it was continuing to tarnish Zimbabwe’s image on the international front.
He said, Chiyangwa had so far done well as the football federation leader, but added that the Harare businessman should deal aggressively with the match- fixing scourge as it could have an effect on his leadership.
“Chiyangwa has to deal with this issue decisively and conclusively. Both the Fifa rules and the Zimbabwean law have to be applied. It is Zifa who accused these people of match-fixing and so they have to deal with it once and for all,” said Nyatanga.
Chiyangwa said those implicated in the scandal would soon be called for disciplinary hearings by the football federation after police are done with them.
Nyatanga said as supporters, they felt cheated because they were made to pay to watch matches whose results would have already been decided off the field of play.
“We are not sure whether some of the games we lost were not sold. As football fans, we feel very cheated because there are some games which we suspect were thrown,” said Nyatanga.
Nyatanga, along with Zifa liaison officer Mathias Kufandirimbwa, are organising an anti-match-fixing demonstration expected to take place during Zimbabwe’s home Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Swaziland at the National Sports Stadium on March 28.