BY DANIEL NHAKANISO
PREMIERSHIP side Herentals have been drawn into fresh allegations of match fixing, after fellow topflight side Bulawayo Chiefs alleged that the two teams’ Castle Lager Premier Soccer League final match of the season last Saturday may have been manipulated.
The latest allegations comes at a time the Harare club is already facing other allegations of match fixing after a complaint was raised by Black Rhinos following their 3-0 win over the army side in October.
Herentals are owned by businessman and educationist, Innocent Benza, who also plays as a striker for the team at the age of 47.
The club appeared before the Premier Soccer League disciplinary committee last Thursday to answer to the match fixing allegations raised by Black Rhinos and for causing the delay of their final match of the season against Bulawayo at Luveve Stadium last Saturday.
The PSL had ordered all matches on the final day of the season to kickoff at the same time to avoid suspicions of match manipulation, but eyebrows were raised when Herentals arrived at the match venue almost an hour after the scheduled kickoff.
The Students, as Herentals are affectionately known, won the match against Chiefs 1-0.
Thanks to the victory, Herentals remained in the country’s top flight by a single point, while Chapungu and TelOne were eventually relegated on the final day of the season.
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Bulawayo Chiefs, who also survived relegation by a point despite the loss on the final day, however, suspect foul play in the lead up to the encounter.
There were accusations that suspected Herentals officials allegedly visited the hotel where the Bulawayo Chiefs team was camped on the eve of the match. The allegations were confirmed by a Chiefs official who requested anonymity.
Sources revealed that Bulawayo Chiefs have taken the matter with the PSL and the match was now under investigation.
“Another allegation of match fixing has been made against Herentals FC to the Premier Soccer League, this time by Bulawayo Chiefs and investigations are still underway. The allegation comes after the club appeared before the PSL’s DC on Thursday for causing the delay of their match against Bulawayo Chiefs last Saturday,” a source told Standardsport yesterday.
Herentals comfortably won the match, which was played at the National Sports Stadium on October 19, 3-0 courtesy of a hat-trick by striker Blessing Majarira with all goals curiously coming in a 10-minute blitz towards the end of the first half.
The Students together with their team manager Oliver Chirenga were early this month summoned to appear before the PSL’s disciplinary committee to answer to allegations of match manipulation.
Kamuriwo confessed to taking US$600, which he was supposed to give to players. The plan was, however, foiled after one of the targeted players blew the whistle to Rhinos coach Herbert Maruwa.
According to the PSL, Herentals are being charged for breaching Article 31.1.3 of the PSL Rules and Regulations on acts of misconduct and offence.
“Its players, officials, servant or duly authorised (expressed or implied) representatives, for any corrupt, dishonesty or lawful purpose in connection with a game played under auspices of the league, or in connection with the affairs of the league, give, offer or promise, whether directly or indirectly, any inducement, reward or bribe of whatsoever nature, to anybody whatsoever.”
Chirenga is being charged for allegedly breaching Article 31.2.2 which reads: “For any corrupt, dishonest or unlawful purpose in connection with a game played under the auspices of the league, or in connection with the affairs of the league, gives, offers or promises, whether directly or indirectly, any inducement, reward or bribe of whatsoever nature, to anybody whomsoever.”
Kamuriwo is being dragged for “accepting any inducement, reward or bribe” as articulated in Article 31.2.2.