[By Bright Tembo]
FORMER match fixer Nchimunya Mweetwa says Zambian football has not been spared from match fixing and FAZ needs to up its game to cub the vise.
Contributing to a chat in a WhatsApp group called Zed Football Zone, Mweetwa, who is now using his personal experiences to try and help others avoid a similar fate through the Nchimunya Mweetwa Sports Foundation, said the vice was there in Zambia but he is not getting a lot of support from FAZ.
“Yes, match fixing is there in Zambia. The support from FAZ, no. Support from the clubs, yes, it’s there but we can do better at it. How to curb it? We need a lot of education, we need to do more on sensetising our athletes,” he said.
Mweetwa is now determined to help stop other players from falling into the same trap that he was caught up in.
“I would love FAZ to do more on this issue because our football is headed for doom but the unfortunate part is FAZ do[es] a lot of media pronouncements but zero work done,” he wrote.
“The former footballers are very supportive and when I organised a clean sport campaign game for legends, most of them came and participated.”
And Mweetwa took members of the group through the process he went through.
“The mafia first approached me after watching our game (Finland) and I think I scored a brace, he then gave me about 10,000$ as token of appreciating my talent (like the way it’s done in Zambia) and it continued for about a year and half and the monies kept coming, good monies,” he said.
“Then he later asked me not to score in one game and offered me about a 100,000$ who would refuse? So I got it and never scored,” he added.
“The friend to the mafia snitched on him for using a fake passport so he was arrested at the airport and he was brought to our town and unfortunately they found contacts of my friend in the mafia’s phone and that’s how we were all picked up after my friend opened up. It’s unfortunate that I was caught in Europe but it all started from here in Zambia from the school days. My mind was corrupted from here and by the time I was approached by the high level match fixers, I was already in it and I never saw anything wrong when I was being offered a lot of money by outsiders.”
Mweetwa went on to say he was actually the one that introduced the Yobe brothers to match fixers back in Finland.
“I’m actually the one who introduced the Yobe brothers (Dominic and Donwell) to the mafia who messed us up,” he said.
Asked how dangerous it is not to follow the rules of the fixer, he said players would be killed.
“He has to payback the money but if the player is not lucky, he can be killed or his family killed,” he said.
” Every person realises the bad [side] after being caught. I’m sure if I wasn’t caught, maybe I would have been killed or continued fixing games. ”
Mweetwa further said that he is still facing challenges in fighting fixing because it was a risky undertaking.
“Yes, it is dangerous, especially outside the country. I sit on a Safe Sport task group for Southern Africa, an initiative that is supported by the Norwegian Olympic and Paralympic Committee and Confederation of Sport, in short NIF. Yeh, I do but mostly in other countries I move under police protection because in Zimbabwe one time, a mafia was sent to come and sort me out,” he said.
Mweetwa said now leaves a stable life despite losing almost everything after being banned.
“I’m okay, I’m stable, I’m a football coach as well and I work as a consultant for the Norwegians for southern Africa. My wife and I are into real estate, we buy land and develop it into a house and sell it,” he explained.
In 2012, Mweetwa’s promising football career came to an abrupt end when he was convicted and banned for match fixing.
After the ban, he played for about four years and retired from football in Botswana.
He did sports administration, coaching and was taken in at FAZ by then Technical director Honour Janza to be groomed as a technical director for about a year.