BY GARIKAI MAFIRAKUREVA

ZIFA officials Tinashe Gomba and Energy Zava face arrest following their role in bringing five Ghanaian footballers into the country under false pretence as well as swindling them of their money.

The duo faces charges of human trafficking and fraud after police took an interest in the matter.

The players returned to their home country last week following the intervention of the Footballers Union of Zimbabwe (FUZ), having been trapped in the country during the coronavirus-induced lockdown.

The players struggled to feed themselves and at times had to survive on sugar cane while in Chiredzi.

Zifa Masvingo provincial chairperson Nabioth Magwizi told NewsDay Sport that police had called him over the matter.

The Zifa officials misrepresented themselves as agents and invited the players into the country purportedly to join a non-existent richly rewarding Premier Soccer League side named Khaya Football Club.

“The police have developed an interest in the issue. I have already been contacted over the matter and it seems the two could be charged with human trafficking, fraud and forgery,” he said.

National police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi yesterday said he did not have the details of the matter.

Zifa have since banned the officials for five years and ordered them to refund US$5 000 to the five Ghanaian players.

NewsDay Sport exposed the scam in April this year.

Three of the football players finally flew back home last week following the intervention of Zifa and FUZ.

Peter Tibila (24), Francis Adjetey (23) and John Adu Poku (22) left for Ghana last week.

The fourth player, Nelson Adenyo (23), managed to fly back home before the COVID-19-induced lockdown, while the fifth, Ahmed Abdul (24) is still in Zimbabwe after Zifa Eastern Region Division One outfit, Chiredzi Stars FC, processed his papers and employed him after learning of his plight.

Several other Ghanaian football players who fell victim to the bogus agents are now attached to Division One clubs in Zimbabwe, including Green Fuel FC, who are helping them out.

Speaking from his base in Ghana, Adjetey said Zifa should clear its name and make sure the Ghanaian footballers were paid back their money.

“I feel Zifa should clear it’s name because the people involved are its officials. I hope the accused will pay us back our money,” he said.

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