A match-fixing scandal has rocked the ongoing Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt, after a Madagascan newspaper reported on Wednesday that Moise Katumbi, multi-millionaire owner of TP Mazambe, allegedly bribed Zimbabwe goalkeeper Elvis Chipezeze to underperform in DR Congo’s 4-0 win over the Brave Warriors in their final Group A clash on June 30.
According to the report, “A large sum of money was supposed to be transferred into the bank of the Zimbabwean goalkeeper but the transaction was not completed after an Egyptian bank raised the red flag and reportedly declined to handle the issue.”
Needing a comprehensive win to have a chance of progressing to the knockout stage, DR Congo beat Zimbabwe 4-0 in a result which was somewhat unexpected given the previous games both in this group and between the sides in qualifying.
While the result was still not beyond the realms of possibility, it sparked some confusion, which caused an investigation to take place.
Allegedly, Katumbi paid a large amount of money to Chipezeze to allow DR Congo score at will.
Substitute keeper Chipezeze, who only played in the match after first-choice George Chigova picked up an injury during the warm-up, refused to comment on the issue, saying he’s been advised not to respond to the reports.
“I’m not going to respond to anything. I know it doesn’t look good for my image, but for now I’m not going to say anything. Time for me to talk will come,” he said.
But Katumbi has released a statement, sent to the continent’s football body, CAF, denying all allegations and calling them “partial fiction and poor journalism.”
“Mr. Katumbi formally denounces these accusations,” read the statement as translated from French into English.
“Mr. Katumbi would wish to underline that by the time these alleged accusations happened, he had already left Egypt. So it was physically impossible for him to approach any players. His passport confirms this and a copy of that is attached to this letter.”
CAF officials have not responded to the allegations, but reports claim an emergency committee by the governing body is looking into the allegations.