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Zimbabwe FA ban 15 for match-fixing

The Zimbabwe Football Association (ZIFA) has banned 15 players and officials for life following their involvement in the country's long-running match-fixing scandal.

Those sanctioned include former ZIFA chief executive Henrietta Rushwaya and coach Sunday Chidzambwa - who led the Warriors to the African Cup of Nations for the first time in 2004 - while a further 16 players have been cleared, with the fate of 70 others involved yet to be decided.

The banned individuals were accused of accepting money from a betting syndicate to throw matches between 2007 and 2009. During that time Zimbabwe lost to Jordan 2-0, Thailand 3-0 and Syria 6-0 during tours in Malaysia arranged by Rushwaya.

"Today will go down as a sad, depressing day in the annals of history of the game in Zimbabwe," Justice Ahmed Ebrahim - a former Supreme Court judge who was chairman of the independent panel investigating the case - said.

FIFA has indicated that the bans will take worldwide effect while current ZIFA President Cuthbert Dube insisted no stone would be left unturned in cleaning up the game.

"We will not step down until we clean up football," Cuthbert said.

Despite ZIFA stating that the bans would take effect immediately, Thomas Sweswe - one of those sanctioned - turned out for his South African club Bidvest Wits on Friday, while Chidzambwa was directing operations from the bench during his side Black Leopard's 2-0 loss to Orlando Pirates on Saturday.

FIFA has released a statement reading: "FIFA will be in contact with the ZIFA in order to be informed of the exact status of the disciplinary proceedings, receive the decisions and take the appropriate measures as soon as possible."

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