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ASIAGATE: More players suspended

The number of football players implicated in the widely-reported Asiagate scandal has risen to 98 after it emerged Monday that 16 more players had not been included in the initial list.

Initially 82 players had been blacklisted for their involvement in the biggest match-fixing scandal to rock the country, but Zifa yesterday revealed that more were involved.

Most of the players who featured in the list released yesterday are those that are playing for the Young Warriors.


Among the prominent figures that have been tainted are Lincoln Zvasiya, Qadr Amini, Tafadzwa Rusike, Mathew Rusike and Edwin Nkomo. The group participated in an Under-21 four nations tournament in Bulgaria three years ago.


Suspended Zifa board member Methembe Ndlovu was the coach of the team.


Also implicated in the new list is Warriors and South African club AmaZulu midfielder Ramson Zhuwawo and FC Platinum winger Benjamin Marere. Marere and Zhuwawo were involved in one match that was played in Malaysia.


Zifa communications manager Nicky Dhlamini said: I can confirm that some of the players that are fingered in the scandal are not on the list that was published in the newspapers. Players like Lincoln Zvasiya and Qadr Amini do not appear in your list, but they are on the Zifa list, hence they were not called up for camp for the match against Burundi.


I can only give you the list tomorrow (today) when the chief executive officer Jonathan Mashingaidze comes back from Gabon.


However, NewsDay Sport managed to get hold of the copy listing the 98 players that have been suspended by Zifa. The list was given to the interim Warriors technical team so that they would not select the players that are already blacklisted.


The players have been suspended from donning national team colours until they are cleared by the disciplinary committee which is expected to come up with a final judgment next month.


World football governing body Fifa has supported the move to suspend the implicated players and officials and has expressed hope that those fingered will fully co-operate so as to conclude the investigations.


There are also suspicions that some of the players might have been involved in fixing the Warriors last Afcon qualifier against Cape Verde with Zifa president Cuthbert Dube coming out strongly against the performances of former captain Method Mwanjali, Thomas Sweswe and Nyasha Mushekwi.


In an announcement last week, the football governing body banned 82 players including most of the current national team players implicated in a multi-million-dollar match-fixing scam run by Asian betting syndicates.


An independent ethics committee chaired by retired judge Ahmed Ebrahim is expected to relook into allegations against each of the players and coaches, pass judgment and hand out sanctions by the end of March.


Warriors coach Norman Mapeza, his assistant Joey Antipas and the bulk of the current national team squad were named by an internal Zifa investigation in a multi-million-dollar international betting scandal.


The coaches and players are accused of receiving payments from an Asian betting syndicate to lose friendly matches on trips to Malaysia, Vietnam, Singapore, Oman, Jordan, Bulgaria, China, Thailand and Yemen between 2007 and 2009.


As Zifa announced the suspensions last week, police were moving in to arrest Henrietta Rushwaya, the former Zifa CEO, who was fingered as a key player in the match-fixing.


Rushwaya appeared in court last Monday to answer 11 counts of concealing transactions from a principal, two counts of fraud and 15 counts of bribery involving

$1 million. She was remanded to February 20 on $500 bail.

List (with the number number of games participated in)

Qadr Amini (1), Lincoln Zvasiya (1), Ramson Zhuwawo (1), Benjamin Marere (1), Mathew Rusike (1), Tafadzwa Rusike (2), Brighton Tuwaya (1), Progress Musepa (5), Yasser Chapfika (1), George Karimupfumbi (1), Gift Kwaramba (1), Artwell Mukandi (1), Nicho Francis (1), Edwin Nkomo (2), Elijah Soko (1), C Ncube (1).NewsDay