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Page last updated at 12:56 GMT, Wednesday, 20 October 2010 13:56 UK

Fifa asks for action in Zimbabwe match-fixing scandal

By Steve Vickers
BBC Sport, Harare

Captain Method Mwanjali lifts the Cosafa Cup last November with Henrietta Rushwaya looking on
Henrietta Rushwaya (left) and Method Mwanjali are both implicated

Football's world governing body Fifa has asked the Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa) to take urgent action on the match-fixing scandal that has rocked the country.

An investigation by Zifa has concluded that national team players were paid to lose matches by an Asian betting syndicate in December 2009.

And now, Fifa has directed Zifa to sanction anyone involved.

Officials and players could face lengthy bans following the outcome of the report.

The allegations of match-fixing centre on a tour where Zimbabwe lost 3-0 to Thailand and 6-0 to Syria.

The report also said money was sent from the betting syndicate to Zifa chief executive Henrietta Rushwaya.

Zifa programmes officer Jonathan Musavengana is also accused of receiving "a bunch of US dollars" from a representative of the syndicate.

Rushwaya and Musavengana, who have been serving suspensions since the inquiry began in August, both strongly deny the allegations levelled against them.

Method Mwanjali, who captained Zimbabwe on the tour, says that a man from Singapore, alleged to be the agent of a betting syndicate sat on the bench during some of the games.

"Raja [the agent] had come to our dressing room before kick-off and told us to lose to Thailand by 1-0. We were supposed to concede a goal in the 20th minute," Mwanjali told the Zifa inquiry.

"We were scored in the 44th minute but not by design. For that Raja was visibly angry and came to the dressing room at half-time and blew his top."

"We were handsomely paid $1,000 [about £600] for losing. The money was paid at the airport as we were about to go home."

The Zimbabwe team consisted entirely of locally based players and left the country without clearance from Zifa and the government-run Sports Commission.

A decision on the matter will be taken by Zifa when it meets at a later date.

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