16 January 2013

Zimbabwe: ZIFA to Investigate Ballon d'Orgate

ZIFA says it will launch an investigation to find out what happened in the voting process for the 2012 Ballon d'Or after stunning revelations that former Warriors' coach, Rahman Gumbo and the national team captain Tapiwa Kapini, did not participate in the process.

Only radio and Television personality Charles Mabika confirmed casting the ballot on behalf of Zimbabwean journalists.

Zifa technical director, Nelson Matongorere's name appeared on the Fifa list of panelists as the Warriors' captain who voted for Real Madrid and Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo, Gerard Pique of Barcelona and Spain and the eventual winner, Barcelona and Argentina's Messi.

For the Coach of the Year he had Pep Guardiola, Jose Mourinho and Alex Ferguson.

The revelation has embarrassed Zifa, and the nation at large, with questions being thrown around as to who could have clandestinely voted after misrepresenting facts, especially at a time the country is just coming out of another damaging scandal, Asiagate.

Zifa vice-president, Ndumiso Gumede, said the issue was likely to be raised during today's board meeting in the capital as the national association continues with its quest to clean up local football to make the game more appealing to the corporate world.

"This issue might just be one of the matters that we will discuss as a board in our meeting. You see, such things expose us to machinations of Asiagate masterminds and we don't want that," said Gumede.

"If those who were supposed to vote were not there then we should not have participated as a country instead of individuals appointing themselves proxies."

Sources in Harare last week said they strongly believed that Matongorere did cast his vote as either Warriors' captain, or coach or even as both.

They argued that Matongorere was probably not aware that Fifa was going to post the votes online.

Fifa sends the ballot papers to the national association which then downloads them and gives the national team coach and his captain, in this case it should have been Gumbo and either of Esrom Nyandoro or Tapuwa Kapini.

Zifa chief executive, Jonathan Mashingaidze said he was out of office at the time the ballot papers were sent.

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

For the Coach of the Year Gumbo 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.

Gumbo said he did not cast a vote and did not have an idea of the shape and colour of the ballot paper.

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