Demonising Justin Gatlin
13th September 2015
The former Chief Executive of the Zimbabwe Football Association (ZIFA), Henrietta Rushwaya, has been named in local media reports as the latest administrator to have been involved in match-fixing in Zimbabwean football. According to the The Herald, Philip Chiyangwa, the ZIFA president, told a media conference in Harare on Wednesday that match-fixing in the country had ‘been going on for a while’ but that he would deal with any perpetrators ‘ruthlessly’.
Chiyangwa’s comments come after ZIFA’s Chief Executive, Edzai Kasinauyo, was suspended by the governing body on Wednesday for allegedly attempting to fix two African Cup of Nations qualifiers. Nation Dube, the assistant coach of Zimbabwe’s national football team, nicknamed the Warriors, as well as a former national team coach, Ian Gorowa, have also reportedly been implicated in the affair.
Rushwaya was banned for life from football by ZIFA in 2012, despite always maintaining her innocence. Her sanction, alongside bans for 85 players and officials in Zimbabwe imposed by ZIFA, was never endorsed by the world governing body, FIFA. Rushwaya was accused of being the key link between the Zimbabwe national team and Raj Perumal, a convicted serial match-fixer from Singapore, but her ban was lifted in January this year when Chiyangwa was elected ZIFA President.
The Zimbabwe Mail has also reported that during the press conference, Chiyangwa alleged that the central figure in the match-fixing ring was the younger brother of Raj Perumal. In 2015, The Sports Integrity Initiative reported that Perumal had admitted that he had arranged a 2007 tour for the Zimbabwe national team where they would be paid $50,000 per match plus expenses, if they “danced to my tune”.
According to the Zimbabwean NewsDay the goalkeeper for the national football team, Tatenda Mukuruva, informed national team coach Kalisto Pasuwa of an approach to fix various matches. Pasuwa allegedly then ‘conducted his own further investigations’, before informing ZIFA of the approach.
The match-fixing syndicate is reported to have been planning to fix Zimbabwe’s upcoming Africa Cup of Nations football qualifier against Swaziland on 27th March, as well as matches in Zimbabwe’s Premier Soccer League, the country’s highest tier of domestic football.
On Wednesday, the Confédération Africaine de Football (CAF) released a statement saying that it had been informed by ZIFA of the provisional suspension of Edzai Kasinauyo and that it was opening a ‘serene investigation into the case’ and would work with FIFA to ‘investigate and activate the mechanisms necessary to ensure that similar actions will not come to affect the course of any match’.