</font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif"> Football?s Great Shame!
The Daily Mirror Reporter
issue date :2004-Aug-16
?Warriors match-fixing scam exposed A DEEP rooted match-fixing scandal has emerged in Zimbabwean football with a local sports journalist and three senior national team players named in the scam which is set to shake the very foundations of African Football.
According to sources, the matter has since been reported to the police, who are believed to be working with Interpol in their investigations.
ZIFA officials also confirmed the alleged fraud and said they have since reported the matter to the police who are now handling the issue.
However, Police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Wayne Bvudzijena yesterday said he would need to verify first where the report was made. ?Check with me tomorrow. I need to find out first where the report was made,? he said.
Documents availed to The Daily Mirror show that the whistle blower, Mildon Kumaraku from Albania, had linked with his accomplices in a bid to ensure Zimbabwe lost their World Cup qualifying match against Algeria on June 20.
Apparently, the Warriors? 1-2 defeat to Seychelles in an African Cup of Nations qualifier last year as well as the 1-2 defeat to Egypt at the African Cup of Nations finals in Tunisia was a result of match fixing.
This means Zimbabwe, who needed divine intervention to book a ticket to their first ever African Cup of Nations appearance in Tunisia as they had to endure waiting for the result between Gabon and Sierra Leone to be sure of their future, could have easily marched to the party as group winners instead of going as the best placed runners up.
This also means they could have rode past veterans Egypt and probably proceeded to the second round.
According to the documents, the sports journalist based in Bulawayo, Lovemore Thabani Dube had been communicating with Kumaraku during the build up to the match against Algeria.
In one of the e-mails he sent to Kumaraku on June 18, he wrote:
?Good morning. I got most of your emails this morning only and I heard all that you said. If possible could you send us air tickets for me and Nkosi Kumalo. If that is done Nkosi can leave today but I still need to clear at work but would be there on Sunday. We could call the players together on Sunday at 11:00 so that you can confirm for yourself. One of the guys? telephone number is 00263-91305348. I will be leaving for Johannesburg tomorrow at 12 noon I will board for Athens at 19h45 and arrive in Athens at 04:00 on Sunday and then will be in Tirana at 10:00 on Olympic Airlines. The boys are happy about doing the job. We did the job when Zimbabwe lost to Seychelles last year. So we won?t disappoint,? read one of the letters.
In another letter Dube also wrote to Kumaraku, he said: ?I have done my best so far. The score-line is guaranteed. Now I have a problem boys are saying they will report me to Interpol and FIFA if I do not pay them something before the game. They think I am a crook this time because I am not paying them in advance. How safe will I be in Albania considering that it is a Mafia country. It would be difficult with US$15 000 may be. Read and understand this. Pay through Western Union I take and give to the boys and they phone to confirm to you that they have the money and will do the job. I am waiting for the ticket but before I leave for your country, I must have money to leave with boys. Some men from Cagliari did not pay them when they lost 2-1 to Egypt at the African Cup of Nations. It makes bad name for business. They are sure that they will give us a big lottery in all respects.?
On June 17, he had also written another letter to Kumaraku stressing that they would not disappoint.
?Yes I can confirm that. The score at the end will be 2-1 in favour of the away team.?
However, although the Warriors put up a lacklustre performance, especially in defence, they were held to a one-all draw by Algeria?s Desert Foxes.
It seems, however, the result did not go down well with Kumaraku who spilled the beans when he notified the world soccer governing body FIFA and Pan African Football Association.In the letter addressed to former ZIFA chief executive Edgar Rogers, Kumaraku
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claimed he has documents and all the phone registrations about the Zimbabwe ?Algeria game.
?We have documents and registration phone numbers of the guy together with some national team players who offered us to buy this match,? said Kumaraku.
Jonathan Mashingaidze is however now the ZIFA chief executive following the resignation of Rogers about two months ago.Efforts by The Daily Mirror to get in touch with FIFA proved fruitless yesterday.
The latest developments come at a time when Zimbabwe, who appear on course to secure a World Cup ticket to Germany, are preparing for the important clash against the Super Eagles of Nigeria at the National Sports Stadium early next month.There are genuine fears there could be people waiting in the wings to fix this match.Dube said yesterday that he was clean and that he was pretending to have been working with Kumaraku.
?I was just pretending like I was dancing to their tune but as a Zimbabwean I couldn?t do that. I never talked to the players.
?They wanted me to talk to guys like Peter Ndlovu and Tapuwa Kapini but I did not do that. Even if you phone them now, they will tell you I never spoke to them,? he said.
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