Zimbabwe disqualifies 15 footballers, managers for match fixing

Zimbabwean football officials have meted out life bans to 15 players and managers implicated in a match fixing scandal.

They are accused of being paid to lose in games, which the Zimbabwe national team played against Asian nations between 2007 and 2009. Lesser bans of 10, 5 and 3 years for other players respectively implicated in the scandal will be announced next week.

The match fixing scandal, dubbed "Asia gate", has been hanging over Zimbabwean football for the past year as investigations by a special ethics committee were carried out. Following its findings, the committee recommended the immediate and global ban.

"This is a global ban. It affects all the football federations that are affiliated to FIFA (International Federation of Football Associations). It's not just the officials and players locally based here. It's for the whole world of FIFA," said Cuthbert Dube, president of Zimbabwe Football Association.

A number of players playing in the top South African league are affected. The ghosts of the scandal were thought to be in the past. Fresh match fixing suspicions have also arisen.

"We think the information filtering to us is that the latest Angola debacle. The game was fixed. It's not just the national team we are going to do a clean-up. We are also going to the premier soccer league because we think there is match fixing that taking place there," Cuthbert Dube added.

Zimbabwe narrowly missed out on a berth at the African football jamboree after throwing away a two goal advantage in the second leg match played in Luanda, capital city of Angola, on October 14. The result left the entire nation heart broken.

Although these days are dark for Zimbabwean football, Zimbabwean football officials are vowing to clean up local football at all levels and restore Zimbabwe to its previous status.

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