Federation of International Football Associations (Fifa) has banned for life former Flames midfielder Hellings Mwakasungula from taking part in any football activities for being found guilty of match manipulation.
The Silver Strikers team manager is among nine individuals from various countries banned “with effect from yesterday,” according to a statement Fifa dated April 24 2019.
“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 art. 69 para 1 of the FIFA Disciplinary Code,” reads the statement in part.
The others are Zimbabwean Kudzanai Shaba, Karlon Murray and Keyeno Thomas from Trinidad and Tobago, Sierra Leonean Ibrahim Kargbo, Benin national Séïdath Tchomogo, Cuban Leonel Duarte and Mohammad Salim Israfeel Kohistani of Afghanistan.
While the eight have received life bans, Kenyan footballer George Owino Audi has “been banned from taking part in any kind of football-related activity for 10 years”.
In an interview with The Nation yesterday, Mwakasungula said he was surprised with the ban, arguing he was not given a chance to defend himself.
“Fifa never summoned me for any hearing. The truth is that I was never involved in any match-fixing. My hands are clean,” he said.
Mwakasungula said he first heard about his implication through Football Association of Malawi (FAM) club licensing and compliance manager Casper Jangale four month ago.
“One of the matches they accused me of manipulating was that against Algeria at the 2010 Africa Cup of Nations finals. I was man of the match and Malawi won the game 3-0. Where was match-fixing in this result?” he said.
Mwakasungula said another match he was accused of manipulating was between Malawi and Bahrain which he said he never participated in.
“There are other matches they accuse me of helping to fix which I didn’t play in. For example, I have never played against Bahrain,” he said.
The former defending midfielder said he shall, through FAM, demand an explanation from Fifa as to why he has been punished.
But in the statement Fifa said the verdicts follow extensive investigation carried out by its Integrity Department.
According to multiple online publications, Perumal is a convicted Singaporean match-fixer who is accused of several match-fixing scandals. He was first jailed for match-fixing in 1995 in his native country.
Meanwhile, Silver Strikers general secretary Lawrence Yobe has said the club will not act until it has officially been informed.
Jangale was not immediately available for comment.