I am clean: Muzondiwa Mugadza
By Sikhumbuzo Moyo
GOALKEEPING legend Muzondiwa Mugadza has distanced himself from the “evil six” that allegedly agreed to take bribes from a convicted Asian match fixer for Zimbabwe to lose a Dunhill Cup match 4-0 to Bosnia Herzegovina in 1997.
The six unnamed Zimbabwe B squad players agreed to share $100,000 offered by Wilson Raj Perumal if they delivered the right scoreline but one Zimbabwean player “accidentally kicked the ball into the net”.
Masimba Dinyero put Zimbabwe B ahead with a 24th minute opener with the other goal coming from Ian Gorowa for the match to end at 2-2.
Dinyero denied that his goal was an accident.
Perumal said following the draw the deal naturally fell through but the Asian was to come back to haunt Zimbabwean football a decade later.
Responding to an article carried by Chronicle Sport on Friday, “Lazy Mzoe” said he was even available for questioning by Zifa officials as he had nothing to hide.
“I just read a report you put regarding the match- fixing in Malaysia in 1997, I am disappointed my name is being dragged into these murky waters but I swear under oath I have never fixed any game in my life or received any bribe in my whole playing career,” said the United Kingdom-based former goalie.
He said during his time at Zimbabwe Saints he was at one time offered $50,000 (Zimbabwe dollars) to throw a game when Highlanders and Dynamos were fighting for the championship but he refused and they went on to beat Dynamos.
“I go to bed with a clear conscience, every time I represented my country I did so with all my heart, Zifa must be having the match recordings which can be reviewed and any suspects fished out,” said Mugadza, one of the finest goalkeepers to emerge from the country.
The squad that went to Malaysia comprised one Blackpool player, three Zimbabwe Saints, five Caps United and eight Dynamos players with Gibson Homela and the late Jimmy Finch leading the technical bench.
Coincidentally, the composition almost resembles the 2007 scenario where Caps United and Dynamos had the highest number of players travelling to the shamed trips.
According to the match report carried by Chronicle on February 25, 1997, former Zimbabwe Saints defender Matambanashe Sibanda contributed to one of the two goals as he stood in between Mugadza and the opposition’s striker resulting in the ball going through Mugadza’s legs.
Their teammate Ronald Sibanda was given his marching orders in the 40th minute for a second bookable offence.
Sibanda said aahe was not aware why the referee dismissed him and denied being approached by Perumal or any knowledge of the match being fixed.
A number of referees have also been caught up in the match-fixing scam.
Many players and officials received bribes to fix matches between 2007 and 2010. Chronicle