Sweswe's long wait for justice

HARARE - Thomas Sweswe feels neglected and unfairly treated after his Asiagate match-fixing appeal has dragged on for almost a year without an outcome.

The defender is one of the 15 individuals handed lifetime bans by the Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa) for his involvement in the match-fixing scandal that rocked local football in 2009.

Sweswe paid $6 000 and appeared before a Zifa Appeals committee composed of advocates Silas Chekera, Thabani Mpofu and veteran football administrator Chris Mbanga in 2012.

Since then, the former Highlanders and Dynamos defender has been waiting for the outcome of that appeal with no avail.

“I feel angry because the process has taken long than what we expected,” Sweswe tells the Daily News on Sunday from his South African base.

“Since we appeared before the Appeals committee there has been no word from Zifa and i don’t know what they are thinking.”

Sweswe, who was released by Absa Premiership side Bidvest Wits at the end of last season, feels that Zifa’s failure to deal with the Asiagate issue has dragged his career backwards.

“Obviously my career took a knock when Zifa announced those bans,” he says. “At that time I was a regular with Kaizer Chiefs and then all of a sudden the club decided to let me go.

“Even the Chiefs fans were surprised by the decision to let me go because they felt I still had a lot to offer.

“Right now I need to plan for my future and I need to hear what Zifa is saying but we are getting no response.”

The 32-year-old former Warriors defender plans to travel to Harare this week and try to seek an audience with Zifa president Cuthbert Dube.

“For me to get justice I think I will have to meet Cuthbert Dube and try to get to understanding what Zifa is doing with my appeal,” said the defender.

“I just want to meet with Dube and have a one-on-one chat with him and hopefully then I might know what is really going on.”

Sweswe said he had pinned his hopes on the newly elected Zifa board that came into office at the end of March this year but he is still waiting in vain.

“After the election in March, I thought the new board would have addressed this Asiagate issue when they came into office,” he said.

“But right now it has been almost three months since they came into office and they have not said anything concerning the Asiagate issue.”

Sweswe is not alone in this boat as Mpumalanga Black Aces defender Method Mwanjali and former Dynamos captain Guthrie Zhokinyi are also in a similar situation.

Fifa have maintained that Zifa did not investigate those accused in the scandal properly will not make the bans get worldwide effect.

FifPro, the umbrella body for all footballers’ unions across the globe, has also lobbied Fifa and Zifa to bring an end to this investigation.

"For almost two years these players have been waiting for justice to prevail," said FIFPro earlier this year.

"Innocent players have lost their jobs which has not only hurt their personal lives but also that of their families and relatives.

"We would like to request Fifa to confirm the sanctions are illegal, and the players involved are in a position to find a new club."

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