zimbabwe-national-team-the-warriors.jpgFootball analysts have welcomed the suspension of soccer players implicated in the Asiagate scandal but have however lamented the timing of the suspensions in view of the forthcoming Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers.

The suspension of 82 soccer players fingered in the biggest match fixing scandal in the history of the local game has evoked concern from different quarters in the corridors of football.

While some consider the suspension of those implicated in the Asiagate scam as a retrogressive step in the evolution of Zimbabwean football, soccer analysts Charlie Jones and Archie Mundava have welcomed the move, but have however bemoaned the timing of the suspension in light of impending Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers.

82 players have been suspended from donning national team colours for playing a part in the match fixing scandal and their fate lies in the hands of the disciplinary committee which is expected to come up with a final judgement next month.

The players will only be permitted to represent the nation again when they’ve been cleared of any transgressions.

The Asiagate scandal has its roots in 2007 when the Zimbabwe national team started embarking on unsanctioned trips to Asia, where outcome of matches were decided by bookmakers.

Between 2007 and 2010 the Warriors lost to global lightweights such as Oman, Malaysia and Syria.

Some of the players who have been suspended pending clearance by the disciplinary committee include among a host of prominent names, Khama Billiat, Thomas Sweswe, Method Mwanjali, Ovidy Karuru, Willard Katsande, Justice Majabvi, Washington Arubi and Cuthbert Malajila among others.

Meanwhile, ZIFA says it is committed to bringing finality to the Asiagate scandal and has promised that investigations will be speeded up as the final judgement is expected before the end of March.

The 82 players who were suspended by ZIFA pending completion of investigations will know their fate by mid March.

The disciplinary action set up by ZIFA is expected to complete its work and hand the final judgement before the end of next month.

ZIFA Chief Executive Officer Jonathan Mashingaidze said those found guilty will be punished. Mashingaidze said the players who will be found guilty will not be considered for future national team assignments.

Mashingaidze also revealed that the Disciplinary Committee is working on the issue of officials who were also fingered in the biggest match fixing scandal ever to hit Zimbabwean football, adding that remedial action will be taken to clean up the mess.  

Those implicated will be interviewed starting this month until mid-March.

FIFA has supported the move to suspend players and officials and has expressed hope that those fingered out will fully co-operate so as to conclude the investigations.

There are also suspicions that some of the players might have been involved in fixing the Warriors’ last AFCON qualifier against Cape Verde.