The Warriors of Zimbabwe are reportedly caught up in a match-fixing storm involving Baroka FC goalkeeper Elvis Chipezeze, which could see DR Congo being thrown out of the tournament and Khama Billiat and company replacing them in the last 16.
A report in Madagascan media, cited by The Herald newspaper in Zimbabwe, has claimed that there was foul play in the Warriors’ 4-0 defeat to DR Congo, which saw the latter qualify for the knockout stages as one of the best third-placed teams.
DRC were set to face Madagascar in the round of 16, but the report suggests that coach Florent Ibenge’s men could be thrown out of the tournament.
“The report, quoting unnamed sources, claimed CAF leaders were seized with the matter and suggested that wealthy Congolese businessman and politician Moise Katumbi, the multi-millionaire owner of five-time African champions TP Mazembe, could have been involved in the plot to sway Zimbabwe goalkeeper Elvis Chipezeze to underperform in the big match and boost the cause of the Central Africans,” an unnamed source said, according to The Herald.
“The media outlet in Madagascar claimed its sources had revealed the CAF leadership were considering throwing the Congolese out of the finals, and banning the country from taking part in the tournament for three years, because of attempts to try and influence the result against Zimbabwe.”
It is further reported that Chipezeze, who only played in the match after first-choice George Chigova picked up an injury during the warm-up and did not have his best game, was supposed to receive a “large sum of money” but “the transaction was not completed after an Egyptian bank raised the red flag and reportedly declined to handle the issue”.
The report also stated that Zimbabwe could replace DR Congo in the last 16 should CAF rule a scoreline of 3-0 in the Warriors’ favour for their game against the DRC or Madagascar could be handed a walk-over into the quarter-finals.However, if the Warriors are handed the three points from the DRC game, they would move to second place with four points in Group A and, as a consequence, face Senegal, with Uganda replacing them in best third-place ranking and taking on Madagascar.
CAF officials did not respond to the allegations on Wednesday, but it has been claimed an emergency committee by Africa football’s governing body is looking into the allegations.