ASIAGATE

SUSPENDED Zifa chief executive Henrietta Rushwaya ordered Monomotapa to throw Champions League games for money, it has been sensationally claimed.

The Harare club represented the country in Africa’s premier club competition last year after winning the domestic championship in 2008.

But it is their 2-0 away loss to Etoile du Sahel of Tunisia on September 12 which has stirred controversy.

Minutes of a meeting held with club owners after the game show that an extensive network involving Rushwaya, Zifa programmes officer, Jonathan Musavengana, shady Asian characters club coaches and players was behind the scam.

The meeting was held on September 19, 2009, after the betting allegations emerged, and was attended by the Monomotapa’s co-owners as well as the coaching and management team of Rodwell Dhlakama and Clayton Munemo.

The club’s owners heard that the team management received several phone calls from ZIFA officials and individuals linked to Asian betting syndicates before and during the game.

Munemo told the meeting he had answered a phone call from Rushwaya who advised him to ensure Monomotopa lost the match by a 0-4 margin.

The Zifa CEO is said to have promised Munemo and the team huge rewards if they threw the game.

Again an individual who has been linked to the Warriors betting scandal in Asia also phoned and assured the Monomotapa officials that they would be rewarded for throwing the game.

“At half time Raja (the benefactor — the man who was funding the whole deal) spoke to the manager (and) emphasised the need for Monomotapa to lose the game as he had already put his bet down,” Munemo said, according to minutes of the meeting.

“He promised to give each player US$4,000 which translated to US$60,000 for the players and some US$10,000 for the coaches.”

Dhlakama told the meeting Rushwaya phone him to make clear the margin by which Monomotapa were to lose the game.

Rushwaya reportedly told the coach: “I am giving you an instruction, you should lose the game by four goals to nil; the first two goals should be in the first half’s 35 to 45 minutes and the other goals in the second half.”

After Monomotapa conceded the first goal Rushwaya is said to have called to ask “whether they did not want any money as the goal had been scored earlier than the time prescribed”.

A report submitted by the club’s then captain Mthulisi Maphosa also implicated Musavengana in the scam.

Maphosa said he had been called to a meeting by Musavengana – the head of the travelling delegation – where the Zifa official asked whether the players had received their payments for the game.

“The players denied receiving any money and at that juncture Musavengana went on to call Raja as the money was supposed to have been given to Dhlakama in South Africa while they were in transit,” minutes of the Monomotapa meeting read.

The minutes suggest the Tunisian club may also have been involved in the scam after their coach went to Monomotapa’s hotel, allegedly to find out if they understood they were to lose.

The Monomotapa minutes show that there was a near bust up between players and Monomotapa officials as tensions rose after the game with the players demanding their share of the bribery proceeds.

Monomotapa sacked Dhlakama and Munemo after the game.

The club also travelled to Malaysia last year disguised as the Zimbabwe senior national team and played in games said to have been organised by Asian betting syndicates.

Rushywaya and Musavengana, who were this week linked with fixing matches involving the national team by an official ZIFA report, both strenuously deny the corruption allegations.

The Zifa CEO was suspended for her alleged role in organising unsanctioned national team trips to Asia where they threw games for local betting syndicates in one of the biggest scandals to hit Zimbabwean football.

Football administrators, players, coaches and media practitioners have been caught up in the scandal.