Zimbabwe’s soccer federation suspended one of its top officials on Tuesday on suspicion he was attempting to fix two upcoming African Cup of Nations qualifiers.
Zimbabwe Football Association executive committee member and former national team player Edzai Kasinauyo is suspected to have been working with an unnamed syndicate to fix Zimbabwe’s home and away qualifiers against Swaziland later this month, the federation said in a statement.
“Mr. Kasinauyo has been fingered in the match-fixing scam and investigations are going on,” ZIFA said following an emergency meeting.
ZIFA said its president, Phillip Chiyangwa, would consult world body FIFA and the Confederation of African Football before making more detailed comment.
Zimbabwean soccer has been rocked by a match-fixing scandal before, when nearly 100 players and officials were suspended over fixed national team games on tours to Asia between 2007 and 2009. The federation’s chief executive at the time was banned for life, but had her ban lifted this year.
Notorious match-fixers Wilson Raj Perumal and Dan Tan were believed to be behind those fixed games. Bans were handed out to a number of players and officials at the end of a long investigation but were later lifted because they were not ratified by FIFA.
While those fixed games in Asia were friendlies, the allegations against Kasinauyo relate to qualifying for Africa’s top tournament.
Kasinauyo, who was elected to the ZIFA executive committee only in December, was in Zimbabwe’s squad for the 2006 African Cup of Nations, the last time the country qualified for the continent’s top tournament.
Swaziland, a small southern African nation surrounded by South Africa, is the surprise leader of their African Cup qualifying group, which also contains Guinea and Malawi.
Zimbabwe was thrown out of 2018 World Cup qualifying by FIFA after ZIFA, under its previous leadership, repeatedly failed to pay wages it owed to its former national team coach.-AP