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Rhinos sack team managers. . . as match-fixing strorm rocks PSL - Zimbabwe Today
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Rhinos sack team managers. . . as match-fixing strorm rocks PSL

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Eddie Chikamhi Senior Sports Reporter
PREMIERSHIP side Herentals are at the centre of a match-fixing storm after a Black Rhinos official admitted to being bribed to influence the result of a recent league match.

The Students, who are involved in a bruising relegation battle, have been under the spotlight in recent weeks.

Suspicion was raised when they forced a 1-1 draw against log leaders CAPS United at the National Sports Stadium.

Black Rhinos yesterday revealed they fired team manager, Gift Kamuriwo, who admitted to receiving a bribe from a Herentals official.

The money was allegedly paid by Herentals team manager, Oliver Chirenga, to influence the outcome of their league clash at the National Sports Stadium on October 19.

Chirenga allegedly targeted a Rhinos player, believed to be Gift Saunyama, to recruit some of his teammates who were supposed to underperform on the day.

But the plans were foiled after the player alerted his coach Hebert Maruwa of the shenanigans.

Rhinos secretly sought to lay a trap to prove the case.

But, after realising the plot could have been discovered, Chirenga then dumped the player.

He allegedly then enlisted the help of his counterpart, Kamuriwo, who has close relations with the whole squad.

The former midfielder was allegedly handed US$600 to help mastemind the scam.

Herentals cruised to a surprise 3-0 win courtesy of a hattrick from their main striker Blessing Majarira.

The Warriors trialist decided the match in a 10-minute blitz towards the end of the first half to ease the pressure on the Students.

However, the result still left the Rhinos authorities with a lot of questions leading to an independent internal investigation.

Before that game, Herentals had not won in eight consecutive league outings.

Stung by the defeat, the Rhinos technical team and players were summoned for questioning by their officials.

And the investigations pointed to a possible match-fixing scam.

Rhinos secretary-general, Wellington Mabiginye, told The Herald they were taking the matter up with the Premier Soccer League while internal investigations were still going on.

Mabiginye confirmed Kamuriwo was relieved of his duties following his confession.

The former Rhinos midfielder, who faces further punishment, however, refused to implicate any of the players.

“We have a case here,’’ Mabiginye said.

‘’One of our players was approached by the people from Herentals before our league match and upon realising the seriousness of the issue he turned them down and alerted the coach.

“So, we had wanted to set a trap but then the official from Herentals did not come back to the player.

‘’Probably, he got wind of the trap. Still, the result and the manner we lost that match was suspicious and we decided to launch investigations.’’

Mabiginye said they ensured they would be thorough in their probe.

“These things happened, I think some three weeks ago, but as a club we have been doing our internal investigations because we didn’t want to tarnish anyone’s image by rushing to conclusions,’’ he said.

“Our team manager confessed to taking the bribe and he has been sacked for that.

‘’But that is just part of the disciplinary action in motion. Usually, as the army, we don’t have to involve police when we encounter such mischief.

‘’We have our own processes which may still find someone going to Chikurubi if convicted.’’

Mabiginye said they have referred the matter to the PSL for further investigations by the league.

“As Black Rhinos, our policy is very clear when it comes to issues such as this,’’ he said.

‘’We don’t tolerate any kind of mischief, worse still given such cases border on criminality.

“Our players know, the whole club is aware that Rhinos does not condone corruption and anything that is illegal because when we come to sport, in particular football, we are the face of the Zimbabwe National Army.

‘’So, we are getting to the bottom of this.

“We have high standards to maintain and football should be a clean sport. We have no jurisdiction over the other club, so we are taking up the matter with the PSL.’’

The Premiership were still to receive written communication from Rhinos by last night.

However, the Herentals official at the centre of the saga, Chirenga, reacted angrily to the accusations being levelled against him.

“I am actually surprised that they are making such allegations. We have had people also raising the same issue after our game against CAPS United but there is nothing like that which happened,’’ he said.

“We have a good team and we beat Rhinos clean. Maybe, they are bitter with that defeat because of the grudges we carried from Division One.

“There is a lot of history behind the clashes between Rhinos and Herentals and I don’t know where that beef came from.

‘’There is always tension whenever we meet and I think this is one way of trying to tarnish our image.

“As a team that we used to play against during our days in Division One, we feel we don’t want to lose to them and they also don’t want to lose to us.’’

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