February 08, 2012

HARARE (Reuters) -- The Zimbabwe Football Association (ZIFA) has suspended national team coach Norman Mapeza and his assistant on suspicion of being linked to a match-fixing scandal which has led to the suspension of more than 80 players, the governing body said on Wednesday.

ZIFA chief executive Jonathan Mashingaidze said the board had decided to suspend all players and coaches named in a report on suspected match-fixing during Zimbabwe's friendly matches, mostly played in Asia, between 2007 and 2010.

Mapeza, 39, started a third spell as Zimbabwe coach last March when his assistant Joey Antipas was already in his post.

Mapeza was not immediately available to comment.

"The board resolved that all individual members fingered in the 'Asiagate' report were suspended... until they are cleared by the independent ethics committee," Mashingaidze said.

He said ZIFA had appointed former Zimbabwe coach Rahman Gumbo as interim national team manager.

Last week, ZIFA suspended over 80 players, including the core of the national team, on suspicion of being linked to a match-fixing scandal involving Asian betting syndicates.

ZIFA has set up an independent ethics committee to probe alleged match-fixing that it believes took place in matches Zimbabwe played in Malaysia, Vietnam and Thailand.

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