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Zimbabwe clears 33 players of match-fixing: report


HARARE (AFP) - Zimbabwe football authorities have cleared 33 players out of more than 90 facing a probe for fixing matches that involved the national team in Asia, an independent daily paper reported Saturday.

"The disciplinary committee, chaired by retired Supreme Court judge Ahmed Ebrahim, absolved 33 players alongside former Zimbabwe national team coach Valinhos due to lack of impeaching evidence," the Daily News said, citing a report from ZIFA, the country's football association.

Of the 33 players cleared, the bulk play in the local premiership while midfielder Ovidy Karuru plays for French second division outfit US Boulogne and Khama Billiat is a striker for Ajax in South Africa.

ZIFA suspended national team coach Norman Mapeza, who was implicated in a match-fixing scam in Asia early this year.

It also suspended all players, coaches and officials who were fingered in the scandal, with those implicated set to appear before an independent ethics committee.

Former ZIFA chief executive Henrietta Rushwaya was released on bail in February after she was detained for bribery, corruption and match-fixing.

She is accused of sending the national football team to play unsanctioned friendlies three years ago in Thailand and Malaysia, where a betting syndicate allegedly fixed the results.

The situation in Zimbabwe is also being probed by FIFA, and the body's president Sepp Blatter warned during a visit to Harare last year that players and officials found guilty in the ongoing probe would face life bans.

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