The Sunday Mail
TROUBLED Shabanie Mine believe their 1-3 defeat at home to How Mine was fixed and the club suspects that their former coach Luke “Vahombe” Masomere masterminded it all.
The club has since suspended veteran defender Zvenyika Makonese and goalkeeper Victor Twaliki as the fallout from that energy-sapping defeat continues.
Masomere, who is now earning his keep at How Mine, laughs off the allegations.
Makonese, who has been a pillar of strength for the relegation-threatened Zvishavane-based side, went AWOL on the eve of the match, while Twaliki conceded what the club felt were three soft goals.
Coincidentally, the pair enjoys close relations with Masomere.
Shabanie Mine vice-chairman Fidelis Chimedza disclosed that the club decided to suspend the pair as investigations into the alleged match-fixing continue.
“There is a lot of suspicion around that game. The situation is made even worse by the fact that some of the characters involved are also the ones who are alleged to have been heavily involved in the Asiagate match-fixing scandal,” said Chimedza in apparent reference to Masomere.
“We are a team that is battling for survival and we cannot afford such kind of behaviour and the only logical thing to do under the circumstances was to exclude them (Twaliki and Makonese) from all club activities while investigations continue.
“The problem is that such allegations are difficult to substantiate and for that reason, we have delayed lodging an official complaint with the league authorities until we finish our own investigations.”
Masomere laughed off the allegations, describing his former paymasters as “foolish”.
“I am hearing this for the first time from you. But if it is really what they have said, then it is very foolish of them to even entertain such thoughts.
“Maybe that is how they operate; when they lose they think the match has been fixed. How Mine is a corporate-owned team whose operations are above board and can never stoop that low for anything.
“We, however, find solace in the fact that whenever you hear such useless talk you know that your good work has been taken note of and people are now trying to stop you using unsporting means,” said Masomere.
The accused were not reachable at the time of going to print as their mobile phones went unanswered.
Shabanie supporters rioted after the loss to How Mine, threatening to beat up Twaliki, who converted Shabanie Mine’s face saver from the penalty.
The visitors’ goals came courtesy of a Heritani Masuku brace and a Godfrey Nguwodzawo effort.
Shabanie are perilously perched third from bottom with 32 points, but are just two points behind 10th-placed Chapungu and can leap to safety with a win over Highlanders this afternoon provided two of the four teams above them — Black Rhinos, Harare City, Triangle and Chapungu — fail to win.
Match-fixing rumours generally flourish at the business end of the season.