CAPS bail out Asiagate players

HARARE - Caps United director Twine Phiri has come to the rescue of Makepekepe players implicated in the Asiagate match-fixing scandal after he yesterday guaranteed to pay their admission of guilty fines before the December 31 deadline set by Zifa.

Tendai Samanja, Asani Nhongo, Charles Chiutsa and Nqobile Mpala were a relived lot yesterday after Phiri revealed he would bail out his “young brothers.”

“Definitely I will pay their fines,” Phiri told the Daily News yesterday.

The CAPS quartet is part of the 53 players and four officials pardoned for their roles in the Asiagate scam, although they escaped with varying fines ranging between $1 000 and $3000.

Samanja, Nhongo and Chiutsa were found guilty of match-fixing by a Zifa enquiry for taking part in fixed matches in Malaysia and Tunisia in 2010 while they were still turning out for former Zimbabwe champions Monomotapa.

The trio had their one-year bans suspended on condition they pay $ 2000 each.

Mpala was slapped with a three-year-ban for his participation the Cecafa tournament in Kenya in 2009, where the Zimbabwean team was paid to lose in lieu for cash by an Asian betting syndicate.

The former Highlanders and University of Pretoria forward was fined $ 3000.

The fines total $9 000.

“I addressed the players and told them of what I was going to do,” Phiri said.

“Obviously they were excited, I mean who wouldn’t be if someone helped you in such a way. These are youngster’s, vana ka ava (they are young).

 “I take them as my kids and my young brothers. I feel they needed to be assisted. I know some of them were not performing to their best and this was hurtful the club. The club needs them to put their best as we move forward.”

While Mpala, Chiutsa, Nhongo and Samanja have been bailed out by the CAPS boss, most of the 53 exonerated players, many of whom are under paid at their clubs, have not been so fortunate.

Their desperation has seen them turn to world football governing body Fifa, through the Footballers Union of Zimbabwe (Fuz).

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