Sport - Chatsworth football club Summerfield Dynamos are in the game for the long haul, and won’t be deterred by the latest match-fixing scandal that has hit the semi-professional ABC Motsepe League.
That’s the word from the club, which was embroiled in a match-fixing attempt before their clash against Richards Bay outfit Milford FC the previous weekend.
A match official from Ulundi allegedly approached a Dynamos player to throw the game.
According to Dynamos secretary Vasu Pillay, the referee met the club’s defender, Thobani Msomi, at training and offered R1000 each to five senior players to lose the game against Milford.
Msomi and his teammates informed Dynamos officials, who decided to trap the referee and an accomplice when the pay-off was being done at a filling station in Croftdene Drive on the eve of the match.
“Once the players received confirmation that the referee was on his way to meet with them, the players contacted management, who proceeded to bear witness to the transaction.
"When approached and questioned by the Summerfield Dynamos management team, the referees were shocked and they bolted, abandoning their vehicle,” Pillay said.
In a search of the vehicle, the duo’s identity documents were found, together with a receipt in the name of the Milford FC owner for the hiring of the car. Msomi and club officials had since opened a case of bribery and corruption at Chatsworth SAPS.
According to Pillay, one of the suspects was apprehended later that night by club officials and handed over to the police.
The matter has since been reported to the South African Football Association.
“We spoke with Mlungisi Ncame, a senior manager from Safa’s national safety and integrity department, and he was making arrangements to come and speak with us,” said Pillay.
Dynamos went on to beat Milford 1-0, a result which secured the Chatsworth outfit’s status in South Africa’s third tier.
This is the club’s first season in the division, and following a mid-term slump they are on course to finish in the top half of the standings.
“At the beginning of the season, before we changed personnel, we lost games that we should have won. The win against Milford was the fourth on the trot, and we definitely want to follow this through and stay in the league,” said Pillay.
Dynamos revamped the squad during the mid-season break, and roped in Ronnie Gabriel. The CAF A-licensed coach, who parted ways with National First Division side Uthongathi, sparked the turnaround Dynamos needed.
Gabriel previously spearheaded Uthongathi’s promotion from amateur ranks to the ABC Motsepe League, and last season to the National First Division, one rung below the top-flight Premier Soccer League.
With four matches to play, and safety guaranteed, Gabriel is already looking ahead to challenging for honours next season.
Since joining Dynamos, the coach said he had been bowled over by the vision and ambition to take it into the professional ranks, and return big-time football to Chatsworth.