By Petros Kausiyo
Warrior’s assistant Joey Antipas allegedly declined to sit on the national team bench after raising suspicions that their match against Thailand in December 2009 could have been fixed.
Antipas told the Zifa probe team, which investigated the national team’s trips to the Far East, that he had raised questions after allegedly receiving instructions from former Zifa programmes officer Jonathan Musavengana that they were to lose their match 1-0 in order to be paid handsomely.
The Motor Action coach made the revelations in his written submission to the probe team led by Zifa vice-president Ndumiso Gumede that includes Elliot Kasu, Benedict Moyo and Fungai Chihuri. Antipas also said he regretted having “received dirty money”.
The Warriors’ assistant had been tasked by Zifa to lead the senior side on the tour after they had won the Cosafa Senior Challenge Cup on home soil in October.
Antipas, who was an assistant to Sunday Chidzambwa then, chronicled how he got given the task of leading the Warriors following communication from Musavengana on December 26 2009.
“On the morning of the 26th December 2009, I received a phone call from the Zifa offices. Mr. Jonathan Musavengana, Zifa programmes officer instructed me to report to Harare international airport at 11am.
“The following morning the 27th December I was told I must not tell anyone except my wife about the trip. On arrival at the airport I met the Cosafa Cup winning squad. We were initially promised a holiday in Malaysia by the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority for winning the Cosafa trophy, we all thought it was that holiday trip.
“On the trip, our head of delegation was Mr. Musavengana. The coaching staff comprising of myself, Joey Antipas, goalkeepers’ coach Emmanuel Nyahuma, fitness trainer Thompson Matenda, team doctor Sachikonye and team physiotherapist Lloyd Maungwa and 18 players.
“We proceeded to Thailand and only to be told that we were playing Thailand national team on arrival,” Antipas said. Antipas also claimed that they were introduced to some Asian match fixing agents prior to their game.
“The morning before kick-off we were introduced to Asian gentlemen who told us that we were to lose the game 1-0 after 90 minutes so that we would be paid handsomely. I then immediately suspected them to be betting syndicates.
“I queried it citing the fact that it was difficult to lose a game 1-0 because our players had been on off-season but I was told to play to instructions by Mr. Jonathan Musavengana. I thereby said that I did not want to get involved.
“During the game there was an Asian guy whom I suspected to be a member of the Asia syndicate who sat on our national team bench and was receiving some phone calls and telling the other person on line all what was happening on the field of play,” Antipas said.
The Warriors assistant coach also alleged that it was tough for his charges to score goals but the fact that they had conceded three by the end of the game had left the syndicate upset.
“It was difficult for our players to score due to the unfitness of the players and pressure from the opposition we duly conceded two more goals in the second half. The end result was 3-0. We did not get any dues from that game because of the scoreline.
“The Asian syndicate was upset because they thought we had dealt with another syndicate so there were no dues paid. The next day 29th December 2009 we proceeded to Malaysia.
“Mr. Musavengana told us that money would come only to our dismay, no money was forthcoming. We then met up with the Asian syndicate who then told us that they would pay us some money in Malaysian currency to keep us going.
“The Asian syndicate then organised another match against the Malaysian champions, a club called Selangor FC. There were not conditions attached to that game and we won 3-0”.
Antipas said there was a threat of a boycott by the players before their third assignment on the tour with players refusing to play until they had been paid.
“Two days later we played Syria national team in Kuala Lumpur. The players refused to play that game until money was produced.
“The game kicked off 20 minutes late until one of the Asian syndicate arrived at the stadium and paid the players and technical department US$500 each. The match commissioner was angry with the players’ behaviour prior to kick off because the players did not want to change.
“Once the players received the US$500 they changed and entered the pitch without decent warm up. I once again did not get involved in the selection of the team. I recused myself from team selection and the team briefing
“Mr Jonathan Musavengana was directing operations from the bench while receiving phone calls from the Asian syndicate. Whenever he received a call he should stand up from the bench and dish out instructions to concede goals and that game we duly lost 6-0.
“To conclude that game was a farce. After the game we then left for the airport. On arrival at the airport Mr. Musavengana met up with one of the Asian syndicate who then gave him money for us to share.
“Each member of the technical department got US$1 000 and a fee which I am not sure of but was said to be a fee for Zifa kept by Mr Musavengana. It was not disclosed to us. To conclude I would say my hands received dirty money due to being forced into these games of illegal betting by Mr Jonathan Musavengana,” said Antipas.
Ironically it was that December 2009 trip, which triggered the probe into neither the trips following revelations that neither the Zifa board nor the Sport and Recreation Commission had not sanctioned it.