The Sunday News
Fungai Muderere, Senior Sports Reporter
WARRIORS goalminder Elvis Chipezeze has maintained that his conscience is clean and the result of the ill-fated match against the Democratic Republic of Congo in the Afcon tie in Egypt last Sunday was a true reflection of the performance of the team.
The Baroka FC player has borne the brunt of a cruel blame game with some unfounded reports even suggesting that he was paid to influence the outcome of the match.
Chipezeze refuses to blame anyone for the embarrassing performance in the game that saw him make some schoolboy blunders.
The Warriors succumbed to a 4-0 defeat to the Democratic Republic of Congo and Chipezeze, the Telkom Knockout Cup Goalkeeper of the Season in the South African league, now finds himself in the eye of the storm, with accusations that he was in a web spun by a match-fixing ring that wanted that match thrown in the Central Africans’ favour.
DRC business mogul and owner of TP Mazembe, Moise Katumbi is alleged to have bribed the Zimbabwe goalkeeper to influence the outcome of the match played last Sunday. Katumbi has since rubbished the accusations.
“The allegations being levelled against me are unfounded. I admit that in that particular game, I had a bad day in office.
“These things do happen in football.
I am not moved at all because that’s the nature of the game. I still stand to be advised to consult lawyers or not.
“As much as we wanted to win, things were not coming up, that’s all I can say.
Because this is not the time for blaming each other as we wanted to achieve that goal of going into the next round, and unfortunately it didn’t happen,” said the former Chicken Inn shot-stopper in a telephone interview from South Africa after his pre-season morning workout at Baroka FC yesterday.
Baroka coach Wedson Nyirenda reportedly plans to take the goalkeeper to a psychologist after his horrendous performance for Zimbabwe.
Although Nyirenda was disappointed with his goalie’s performance, the coach has also come to his defence.
“We just have to counsel him, because it’s not the end of the road. He is a strong boy and even after the game he said he will learn from those mistakes,” Nyirenda told Sowetan.
“He did not expect to start the match after the first choice George Chigova got injured during warm-up. You could see in the way he conceded.
“If you look at the first goal where he fumbled the ball, where were the defenders?
Two strikers from Congo were the ones who fought for that ball.
The defence should have covered him.”
Nyirenda could not guarantee that the 29-year-old would be the first-choice keeper with Ayanda Dlamini and Avhashoni Tshinuna giving him competition.
“We have other ’keepers as well, so it’s about what Elvis will do when he comes here. He was not playing for Baroka there, he was playing for Zimbabwe.
So we will judge him according to what he does in training with us,” said Nyirenda.
Meanwhile, veteran Warriors midfielder Danny “Deco” Phiri has come out in defence of Chipezeze, saying his accusers should lay off the under siege Warriors goalkeeper as the Zimbabwe national team lost fair and square and therefore, there was no need to put the blame on on
“Everything did not just work out. We sincerely lost to DRC. This finger-pointing accusing Chipezeze of match-fixing is unfounded. It should just stop,” said a fuming Phiri.
“We lost as a team and everyone who was in camp feels for Chipezeze.
There was no way that we could have that match fixed because we all wanted to make history at the tournament and unfortunately we lost,” he added.