The Herald (Harare)

14 January 2013

Zimbabwe: I Did Not Vote: Rahman

Bulawayo — FORMER Warriors coach Rahman Gumbo has denied that he took part in voting for the Fifa Player of the Year, further plunging Zimbabwe football, which was rocked by a match-fixing scandal for the better part of 2012, into further turmoil.

Gumbo's name appears on the list of those who voted.

Earlier this week, there was controversy in Harare after allegations that director of coaching Nelson Matongorere voted in place of the Warriors captains Tapuwa Kapini and Esrom Nyandoro. Both players have said they did not vote.

There are growing fears that a senior official at the Zifa headquarters might have clandestinely voted on behalf of Gumbo.

Matongorere says he knows nothing about the votes.

A clearly angry Gumbo told Chronicle Sport that he was shocked to read in the media that he voted as the Warriors' coach.

"I am shocked by what is being said that I voted in the Fifa Ballon d'Or. I want to put the record straight that Rahman Gumbo did not vote in that process and in fact, I don't even know the shape and colour of the ballot paper," said a fuming Gumbo.

He said he has been desperately trying to get hold of the Zifa chief executive officer Jonathan Mashingaidze to get more clarity on who could have used or voted using his name.

Some sources in Harare said they strongly believed that a senior Zifa employee cast his vote as either Warriors captain, or coach or even as both.

"Who else could do that other than the head of the technical team? I think he probably was not aware that Fifa was going to post the votes online," said a source. Contacted for comment yesterday, Matongorere went ballistic.

"Please, please leave me alone, isn't you have already written all the nonsense already, so what do you want me to say," he said before switching off his phone.

Fifa sends to each country three ballot papers for the national team coach, captain and a media representative.

The coach and captain's forms come through the national association while the media one goes directly to the individual.

Zimbabwe's radio and TV personality, Charles Mabika confirmed that he did cast his vote.

"Fifa sent the ballot paper directly to my e-mail and I did vote before e-mailing back to Fifa. For the other guys, I believe the forms were sent through Zifa," said Mabika.

According to the official Fifa list of the voting panel, Gumbo is said to have voted for Andres Iniesta for the top prize and Lionel Messi and Manchester United's Robin van Persie as the runners-up respectively.

For the Coach of the Year, Gumbo allegedly had Spain's Vicente del Bosque as his first choice, former Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola as the first runner-up and Borussia Dortmund's Jürgen Norbert "Kloppo" Klopp was his third choice. The Warriors "captain" listed on the Fifa website as Matongorere voted for Cristiano Ronaldo, Gerard Pique and Messi while for the Coach of the Year he had Guardiola, Jose Mourinho and Alex Ferguson.

The Fifa Ballon d'Or was won by Argentina and Barcelona star player Messi with Portugal and Real Madrid forward Ronaldo and Messi's teammate Iniesta coming second and third respectively.

The board member said the first port of call would be to establish who exactly had access to the computer or Mashingaidze's password and the puzzle will fall into place.

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