Sikhumbuzo Moyo, Senior Sports Reporter
ZIFA Southern Region Division One title aspirants, Talen Vision, have been engulfed in an alleged match-fixing storm after trying to bribe four ZPC Hwange FC players with US$100 ahead of their league match last Saturday.
According to information at hand, the ambitious Bulawayo-based outfit used former Railstars player, Mtewa Masiku, whom they sent to Hwange to meet one of the players to “seal the deal”.
Unbeknown to Masiku, the ZPC Hwange player, in line with Fifa’s code triple R (recognise, resist and report), had already alerted management and a trap was set for him.
“This whole thing started via a number of phone calls to the player from persons that identified themselves as the goalkeepers’ coach as well as Talen Vision assistant coach,” said a source.
According to phone records, the first call was made on August 12 and the same number again was used to communicate with the ZPC Hwange defender two days later.
Then from August 13-16 Masiku called the defender using his mobile number.
On August 16, he confirmed to the player that he was on his way to Hwange where he arrived just before 4PM.
In a WhatsApp conversation, the player informed ZPC Hwange authorities that Masiku was now in Hwange town.
“Boss umuntu okade kuthwa uyabuya lemali ukhona la koKuchi ngimenzeni,” the player asked at 4.34PM.
“Your phone ayingeni,” replied the club official to the player at 4.37PM, to which the player replies at 4.39PM saying his phone seems to have a problem.
“Thatha imali and record them, record everything ufake your phone eskhwameni,” was the response from the club official.
As all this was happening, a trap was being set for Masiku, who was dramatically caught in the process of giving the player the cash.
Upon interrogation, Masiku confessed that he was acting on behalf of Talen Vision. He was asked to put his confession in the form of an affidavit.
“Being informed that I am not obliged to mention any part which is relevant to my defence to them (the people who had sent him). Whatever I say will be put into writing and may be produced as evidence in court,” reads the opening part of Masiku’s affidavit.
“I do admit that I was sent to pay Hwange (ZPC) players for the 17.08.19 Division One game and I paid US$100-00. I gave (name of the player) the cash,” he wrote before appending his signature and national identity number.
However, Talen Vision yesterday distanced themselves from Masiku, whom they branded a bribery “schemer”.
“Mtewa Masiku is not and has never been part of FC Talen Vision nor has there been intentions to engage him in any capacity at the club. As a club we were not aware that what was in the public domain referred to our club. The club will seriously pursue this allegation and give it the seriousness that it deserves. The said bribery schemer, Mtewa Masiku, is not associated with Talent Vision or its parent company. In any way he is neither a player nor employee,” said Talen Vision chairman, Mishon Tsabalaka.