Zimbabwe axes national football team

National team disbanded after failing to qualify for Africa Cup of Nations, amid ongoing match-fixing allegations.

    Zimbabwe axes national football team
    The team has long been dogged by rumours of match-fixing and in October ZIFA announced lifelong bans for some players and officials [GALLO/GETTY]

    Zimbabwe has dissolved the national football team for failing to qualify for the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations as a major match-fixing scandal still overshadows their performance, an official said Friday.

    "The team has been discarded in its entirety," Zimbabwe Football Association (ZIFA) president Cuthbert Dube told a news conference in the capital Harare.

    Zimbabwe lost 0-2 to Angola in the last qualifying game for the continental tournament after they had carried a 3-1 lead in the first leg, and failed to qualify on away goals.

    Match-fixing scandal

    Shocked fans point to a 2009 match-fixing scandal involving the national team that resulted in a lifelong ban for 15 players and officials, which ZIFA announced in October.

    The scandal might have contributed to the team's poor performance in Angola, Dube added, without elaborating.

    "We will rebuild from the under-20 and under- 23s. These are young people who are clean," he said.

    None of the players in Angola played in the "Asiagate" games.

    The banned officials include former national team coach Sunday Chidzambwa and former ZIFA chief executive officer Henrietta Rushwaya.

    Rushwaya sent the national team to play unsanctioned friendlies in Thailand and Malaysia, and a Singapore-based betting syndicate allegedly fixed the results.

    Zimbabwe have qualified for the Africa Cup of Nations twice but have never qualified for the World Cup.

    South Africa will host the January 19-February 10 Nations Cup.

    SOURCE: AFP


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