Asiagate players for Warriors

HARARE - Zimbabwe might include some players implicated in the Asiagate match-fixing scandal for next week’s blockbuster African Nations Cup qualifier against Angola following the players’ reprieve in the widely-publicised scam.

The drawn-out probe into the world famous scandal is now complete, but the report, which Zifa president Cuthbert Dube says is now “with the printers”, has not been made public.

Zifa officials were on Tuesday locked in a meeting to deliberate on the names to be added to the Warriors squad for the Luanda trip next week.

The meeting continued yesterday, although there was no solution in sight at the time of going to press last night.

The Daily News however, understands that some of the players, deemed less active in the series of fixed matches during the Warriors’ escapades in Asia between 2007 and 2009, might gain last-minute selection into the team.

Maritzburg United striker Cuthbert Malajila — who has been enjoying a good scoring-streak in his first full season with the South African Premiership outfit — is one of the players earmarked by Warriors coach Rahman Gumbo and is believed to have been cleared by the Ahmed Ebrahim-led Independent Ethics Committee.

Malajila’s inclusion might provide some answers to Zimbabwe’s attacking problems.

The Warriors have been blatantly devoid of a proven partner for talismanic striker Knowledge Musona since Asiagate claimed the scalp of Nyasha Mushekwi, one of the most prolific forwards to emerge out of the country in recent years.

Former CAPS United fullback Gilbert Mapemba is also believed to be one of the players knocking hard on the Warriors’ door following his Asiagate pardon.  

The Moroka Swallows defender had made the Warriors right-back position his own before he was suspended last year alongside several other players linked to the country’s biggest ever match-fixing scandal.

Swaziland-based goalkeeper Ephraim Mazarura could also bounce back into contention following impressive performances in that country’s top flight league.

Mazarura’s return to the Zimbabwe fold can also be aided by the absence of injured first-choice keeper Tapuwa Kapini, who has been ruled out of the decisive qualifier after undergoing surgery last month.

The injured Warriors skipper, in a previous interview with this paper, recommended the call-up of the experienced Mazarura as cover for the Warriors between the sticks.

Zimbabwe carry a healthy 3-1 first leg lead to Luanda, needing to avoid a disastrous performance to seal passage to next January’s Afcon finals in neighbouring South Africa.

Meanwhile, the Zimbabwe Mining Development Company (ZMDC) yesterday donated $30 000 to Mzansi90, a fundraising committee set up last week to mobilise resources for the Warriors’ qualification quest.

ZMDC’s shot in the arm comes a day after Mbada Diamonds Company handed over $200 000 to the committe.

Zifa president Cuthbert Dube chipped in with $5 000 in addition to the $10 000 donated by Buymore Investments, a company he owns.

A South Africa-based Zimbabwean company also contributed $5 000 while locally-based Conduit Investments gave the committee $1 000.

“I am delighted that people understand our vision to uplift sport,” said committee chairperson George Manyaya.

“I am appealing to individuals and companies to help in this historic feat.”

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