Zimbabwe chief fired over unauthorised friendlies

JOHANNESBURG, Oct 26 (Reuters) - The Zimbabwe Football Association's (ZIFA) chief executive was fired on Tuesday after being found guilty of sending the national team to play unauthorised matches in Asia last year.

ZIFA legal adviser Ralph Maganga told Reuters that Henrietta Rushwaya had been found guilty by the association's disciplinary body on charges of "conduct inconsistent with her duties, mismanagement and insubordination".

Rushwaya, who was suspended in July on suspicion of fixing matches in the Malaysia tournament, responded by referring all questions to her lawyer who said he would comment on her sacking "later".

The chief executive was found guilty of requesting a loan of $103,000 from Zimbabwe's sports commission, money which is now unaccounted for, Maganga said in a telephone interview.

ZIFA said Rushwaya accepted the matches against Thailand, Syria and a Malaysian club without the permission of its board or the country's sports commission, who must authorise foreign trips by Zimbabwe teams.

Rushwaya also allowed former Zimbabwe champions Monomotapa to go to Malaysia last year masquerading as the national team.

"She even gave them national team kit," Maganga said.

"The possibility of criminal charges is now a matter for the ZIFA board to decide but there are allegations that border on criminality which need to be looked at."

Both these tours are suspected of being set up by betting syndicates, said a report by the Forum for African Investigative Reporters last month.

Zimbabwe's decision to sack Rushwaya comes in the wake of a probe by football's governing body FIFA into a fake Togo team playing a friendly in Bahrain in August.


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