Soccer

Zimbabwe football star Peter Ndlovu acquitted

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HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP)

A court acquitted Zimbabwe's most prominent footballer on Friday of manslaughter in the deaths of his brother and a woman in a car wreck.

Harrison Nkomo, the attorney for Peter Ndlovu, said the former popular captain of Zimbabwe escaped a possible jail term after the court in the resort town of Victoria Falls ruled local police failed to prove he was driving recklessly or at excessive speed toward the town after midnight on Dec. 14.

Ndlovu, 40, insisted his car crashed after a tire burst. His brother Adam, 42, who played in leagues in Switzerland and South Africa, and a 24-year-old woman companion died in the crash.

Nkomo said accident investigators mistakenly showed as evidence a tire that was not on Ndlovu's vehicle. The intact tire was not of the make fitted to the car and had been wrongly examined for signs of a burst by forensic investigators, he said.

Police disputed the player's account that the car veered off the highway because of a defective tire and said damage to the other tires was consistent with the vehicle slamming into trees beside the highway.

Nkomo said Victoria Falls magistrate Archibald Dingana threw out the involuntary manslaughter charge on a lack of evidence.

Ndlovu faces no further charges relating to the accident.

Ndlovu, who suffered head and leg injuries in the crash, attended his brother's funeral in a wheelchair in Bulawayo.

Now the Zimbabwe assistant coach, he appeared in the court unaided and dressed in a dark suit, and wept during the hearing.

He was capped 100 times by Zimbabwe, and the striker played 12 seasons in Britain for Coventry, Birmingham and Sheffield, scoring 90 goals in 338 appearances there.

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