CAPE TOWN (Reuters) - The Zimbabwe Football Association (ZIFA) has provisionally suspended executive committee member Edzai Kasinauyo over allegations he was involved in an attempt to fix an African Nations Cup qualifier scheduled for later this month.
The 40-year-old, who played for Zimbabwe at the Nations Cup finals in 2006, is being investigated over a Group L away game against Swaziland on March 25, ZIFA said in a statement on Wednesday.
Kasinauyo has denied any wrongdoing and said that there was evidence that would exonerate him.
“This is very sensitive issue with far-reaching consequences because it gets to the heart of my integrity, not only as a person but also as a football leader,” he told Zimbabwe’s Herald newspaper, saying that he was in “total shock”.
“The only relief that I have right now is that I‘m being told there is evidence and that will paint the correct picture and help set me free.”
The Confederation of African Football (CAF) issued a statement on Wednesday saying it would liaise with soccer’s world ruling body FIFA to “activate the mechanisms necessary” to ensure other Nations Cup qualifiers were not open to manipulation.
ZIFA’s recent history has been littered with problems and in 2012, after several years of investigation, 13 players and officials were banned for life for match-fixing in what became known as the “Asiagate” scandal.
A further 69 were suspended for their part in fixing friendly internationals that Zimbabwe played in Asia, where games were manipulated under the instruction of a Singapore-based betting syndicate.
The last of those suspensions for administrators, match officials, players and coaches were lifted this year as an investigation by FIFA into the matter stalled.
Swaziland and Zimbabwe are top of Africa Nations Cup qualification Group L on four points after two games, with the winners gaining automatic entry to next year’s tournament in Gabon. Malawi and Guinea are the other teams in the group.
Editing by Louise Ireland