World football governing body, Fifa, has banned Silver Strikers Team Manager Hellings Mwakasungula and eight other individuals from taking part in any football-related activity for life for allegedly being involved in match-manipulation.
Mwakasungula, who is also a radio and television football analyst, is expected to relinquish his position at Silver due to the ban which has shaken Malawi and world football. He can appeal the ban.
The former Flames midfielder yesterday said he was yet to be communicated to on the ban.
“I was once contacted by Football Association of Malawi [Fam] officials on the matter and I gave them my response. I do not know if they sent the response to Fifa,” Mwakasungula said.
Fifa did not specify how and when Mwakasungula was involved in the issue but sources traced the development to his Flames’ playing days around 2008.
He retired from the Flames around 2012, having been in and out of the team since 2004.
Silver General Secretary, Lawrence Yobe, Wednesday said they would only comment on Mwakasungula’s ban once they get communication from Fifa through Fam.
Football analyst Moses Dossi yesterday described the ban on Mwakasungula, who replaced Francis Songo as Silver Team Manager this season, as a blow to Malawi football.
“It is sad but he can appeal to the International Court of Arbitration if he has good grounds for doing so. It is a sad development for such a young man who has passion for football. It is like a death sentence. You are talking about a guy who has just secured a new job at Silver,” Dossi said.
Mwakasungula, who was a regular for the Flames’ squad which qualified for the 2010 Africa Cup of Nations finals in Angola, has been banned alongside eight other former players and agents, according to Fifa’s statement released Wednesday.
“The Fifa Disciplinary Committee has found nine individuals—eight players/ former players as well as one players’ agent—guilty of having been involved in match manipulation in violation of article 69 paragraph 1 of the Fifa Disciplinary Code (Unlawfully influencing match results).
“The following individuals have been banned from taking part in any kind of football-related activity at both national and international level (administrative, sports or any other) for life,” reads Fifa’s statement released yesterday.
“Moreover, the Kenyan player Mr George Owino Audi has been banned from taking part in any kind of football-related activity at both national and international level (administrative, sports or any other) for a period of 10 years. In addition, a fine in the amount of CHF 15,000 has been imposed upon him.
“The formal disciplinary proceedings into the aforementioned individuals stemmed from an extensive investigation into various international matches that Mr Wilson Raj Perumal attempted to manipulate for betting purposes. This large-scale investigation was conducted by Fifa over several years through its Integrity Department and in cooperation with the relevant stakeholders and authorities.
“The decisions were notified to the individuals concerned today, the date on which the relevant bans come into force.”
The other banned individuals include Karlon Murray, Keyeno Thomas (Trinidad and Tobago), Ibrahim Kargbo (Sierra Leone), Kudzanai Shaba (Zimbabwe), Séïdath Tchomogo (Benin), Leonel Duarte (Cuba) and Mohammad Salim Israfeel Kohistani (Afghanistan).
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