PRETORIA: Phil Setshedi, former assistant coach to the South African national team, has been sentenced to eight years in jail, five suspended, for trying to bribe a referee.

Setshedi, Clive Barker’s assistant when South Africa won the 1996 African Nations Cup, was found guilty in Cape Town last December of trying to influence the outcome of a match in a promotion play-offs from the third tier of the Vodacom League in the city in mid-2011.

Sentencing had been postponed until this week for the  former player and coach of South African champions Orlando Pirates.

Magistrate Sabrina Sonnenberg said match fixing was against the ethos of fair play and should never be tolerated. She noted match fixing was a growing scourge around the world and therefore the South African courts needed to contribute to the fight against the disease by imposing harsh sentences which should be a deterrent to other potential match fixers.

Kirsten Nematandani, president of the South African Football Association, thought the sentence should send out a clear message.

He said: “This sends out a strong warning to anyone who might intend to tarnish the good name of the sport through corrupt and any other unsporting behaviour.

“In accordance with FIFA and SAFA’s zero tolerance to corruption and match fixing, we would like to warn other potential criminals that the long arm of the law would not spare you.”

Nematandani and four other SAFA directors and officials were suspended briefly earlier this year pending the outcome of an investigation into matchfixing of friendly matches played by South Africa in the run-up to the 2010 World Cup finals which the country hosted.


# # # #