Football - Former S. Africa assistant coach jailed for match fixing

A former South Africa assistant coach has been sentenced to eight years in jail for trying to bribe a referee to help a lower-league team, the South African Football Association (SAFA) announced on Wednesday.

Phil Setshedi, who was Clive Barker's assistant when South Africa won the 1996 African Nations Cup, will serve three years with the other five suspended.

He had been found guilty on Tuesday in a Cape Town court of trying to influence the outcome of a match in the promotion play-offs from the third tier of South African football in mid-2011.

The court heard he had offered money to a match referee to help the team he represented win.

Setshedi is a former player and coach of South African champions Orlando Pirates.

Bribing referees is reported to be commonplace in the lower leagues in South Africa but prosecutions are rare.

Setshedi's sentence would send out a clear message that match-fixing had no place in South African soccer, SAFA president Kirsten Nematandani said in a statement.

"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," he said.

South Africa has recently been rocked by allegations that several national team matches, ahead of the 2010 World Cup, were fixed by an Asian betting syndicate.