Asiagate haunts players

WITH the Castle Lager Premier Soccer League (PSL) set for another break, players who have not paid their Asiagate match-fixing fines will not be allowed to play when it resumes, seven months after the deadline to pay lapsed.

WELLINGTON TONI
SPORTS EDITOR

This is the latest communication from Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa) to the PSL, dated July 29 for the league’s chief executive officer Kennedy Ndebele’s attention.

The letter reads: “Zifa fined players who were convicted for match-fixing and illegal betting in November 2012. Some players paid their fines in full with some tendering payment plans which, regrettably, have not been religiously followed.

“Zifa hereby requests your esteemed office to facilitate the exclusion of the players who have wilfully reneged on their commitment to service their outstanding fines with effect from August 1 2013.

“Please find attached a copy of the list of players whose fines arising out of the Asiagate scandal are still outstanding.”
Zifa chief executive Jonathan Mashingaidze wrote to his counterpart at the PSL.

Ndebele confirmed yesterday that they had received the letter from Zifa. “We have since forwarded the letter to the clubs and we believe what they (Zifa) want is a payment plan from the players.”

Zifa communications manager Xolisani Gwesela said: “Either the players pay up or provide us with their payment plans. Those who will not comply with the directive will not be allowed to play. We also want to state that those affected have started co-operating with the association.”

The most affected team are defending champions Dynamos whose players, goalkeeper Artwell Mukandi, left-back Ocean Mushure and Augustine Mbara owe $5 000, $3 000 and $2 000, respectively. Highlanders striker Beaven Chikaka owes $1 000.

Mbara and Mushure are both national team players, but are out because of injuries and missed Sunday’s African Nations Championship match against Mauritius. They will also not take part in the final qualifying round against Zambia this weekend.

From the players that did duty against Mauritius and are preparing for Zambia, goalkeeper Tafadzwa Dube and Ali Sadiki have settled their dues of $3 000 and $1 000, respectively. No other player in the Warriors squad is affected.

Black Mambas’ Nicholas Alifandika still has to part with $3 000 together with veteran Motor Action defender Edward Tembo. Phillip Marufu, seeking to resurrect his career in the top-flight, owes $3 000 while George Magariro has a bill of $2 000.
Ramson Zhuwawo, recently offloaded by Absa Premiership side AmaZulu, has not paid the $3 000 fine.

Last week, the Special Appeals Committee heard the cases of Method Mwanjali and Thomas Sweswe. Both paid the
$6 000 appeals fee. Besides the two, Tafadzwa Rusike, now back in Zimbabwe and Moroka Swallows’ Gilbert Mapemba have cleared their dues.

Mwanjali has since been offloaded by Mamelodi Sundowns, but has been appointed captain of his new side Mpumalanga Black Aces, featuring in the 1-0 loss to defending champions Kaizer Chiefs in the season opener in South Africa last Friday.

Sweswe turns out for Bidvest Wits in the same league. Verdicts in both cases are yet to be released. Zifa lawyer Ralph Maganga told this publication last week that the committee, led by advocate Silas Chekera, was still deliberating on the two cases.

“There is no ruling on the two cases yet. The special appeals committee is still deliberating and the judgment on the two will be communicated through the Zifa office. We don’t know when they will be through,” Maganga said.

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