Sikhumbuzo Moyo in BULAWAYO
SWAZILAND football authorities say they are not losing sleep over damaging reports that their African Nations Cup qualifier against Zimbabwe was targeted for manipulation by match-fixing gangsters, but are instead preparing normally for the Good Friday match.
The authorities seem to hold the belief that the whole drama was meant to shake them off their preparations.
The plan to manipulate the result, whose beneficiary would have been Swaziland, was busted by Zimbabwe football authorities who moved swiftly to suspend executive committee member Edzai Kasinauyo and Warriors assistant coach Nation Dube, who according to sources close to the whole fiasco, is now likely to turn into a State witness.
Speaking to our Bulawayo Bureau, National Football Association of Swaziland general-secretary Frederick Mngomezulu tried to justify their position by saying neither ZIFA nor CAF have contacted them since the scandal broke out.
“We have only heard or read about it through the media, nothing official has come to us, but I just want to be clear that those claims will not affect us in any manner whatsoever because we are not part of this, Swaziland is clean in all this drama,” said Mngomezulu.
“We want to believe the results on the pitch will be coming from the workmanship of either team’s players, not influenced in any way and that both teams accept the outcome.”
Mngomezulu, whose side shocked Guinea 2-1 in their first game before holding Malawi to a 2-2 draw, said their plans will certainly not be affected by what he called rumours.
“Swaziland will focus on the mental strength of the team,” he said.
Meanwhile, Swaziland will play two friendly matches in 24 hours against Lesotho as part of their preparations for the top drawer encounter with the Warriors.
The international friendlies, set for today and tomorrow, will take place on the weekend the Warriors are expected to troop into camp in Harare before departure on Wednesday or Thursday.