LUKE MASOMERE, the Masvingo United coach, travelled to Vietnam in November 2007 as caretaker coach of the Warriors
during a trip that was investigated by the Zifa committee that looked into Asiagate.
Zimbabwe played three games in the Agribank Cup in Vietnam, losing 2-3 to Finland after having taken a 2-0 lead at the break courtesy of Kingstone Nkhatha's double, 0-2 to the hosts and drew 1-1 with Uzbekistan.
On March 24, 2011, Masomere met with the Zifa committee investigating Asiagate.
Masomere had also met the same committee, when they visited him in Botswana, the previous year where they discussed the same issue but the coach, who promised to send a written submission, did not do so, leading to their second meeting.
Masomere insists that he sent a written report, and has email records to prove that, but that report was not seen by the investigating committee and, unlike other key figures interviewed, the coach is the only one whose written submission is not included in the final report.
Here is a reproduction, from the report released by the committee led by Ndumiso Gumede, about their interview with Masomere:
Luke Masomere - Coach In Vietnam (17hrs - 24/03/2011)
Chairman (Ndumiso Gumede): When I visited Botswana late last year, I met with you concerning these corrupt games and you had promised to write us a report and submit it to us through e-mail but, to date, that has not materialised:
Masomere: Sorry Sir, but I sent my report through my e-mail and I still have it in my sent out mail box. I went to Vietnam with the senior national team as Head Coach. There was no assistant. The team manager was (Godfrey) Japajapa although his roles were floating.
The medic was Dr (Nathan) Makanza, the HOD (Head Of Delegation) was (Steve) Nyoka. The (Zifa) CEO (Henrietta Rushwaya) was in the traveling delegation. Robson Sharuko was the journalist.
I was phoned by the CEO Rushwaya with only two days before departure by the team to Vietnam. By then I was in Masvingo. Naturally, as someone ambitious to be in charge of the senior national team, I was very excited about that appointment.
I phoned other coaches to assist me to come up with a squad. When I then informed the CEO about my call-up squad, she said all the players who mattered had already been called and (were) ready to travel.
Therefore, the only one player I managed to call up and force into the traveling team was Energy Murambadoro.
In Joburg or Hong Kong, en-route to Vietnam, our CEO was seen by the match-fixing agents talking to the opposition/competing betting syndicate. Because of that, the atmosphere became tense and Japajapa, and others in the know, were saying that things were not okay. The CEO was weather-beaten for about two days.
The CEO said to us, (that is) Japajapa, Robson and myself, that we had come to make a lot of money: "Tomorrow's game is supposed to be a killing day. We will be very rich."
Everyone in the delegation knew what was happening, besides Energy Murambadoro and HOD Nyoka. The CEO promised that, for the first game, I was to get US$9 000. We duly lost the first game and, as coach, I was not happy with a few technical and tactical aspects of our performance. I therefore wanted to correct them through a training session in the evening. Japajapa told me to cool down on my intentions to correct the team's mistakes as that was the design already made to make money.
The following morning I went outside the hotel to have my early smoke (cigarette) and I saw the four syndicate guys coming to meet with our team. The syndicate guys showed me a video, where they were giving Rivaldo and Roberto Carlos, of Brazil, money. They said to me: "We are here to give you money. As you can see, we deal with big football national teams and there are no problems, so what about you small boys? That is why we are here, to make you make money." They then promised to (give) me US$10 000 for the next game.
Raja (Wilson Raj Perumal) showed me the video of Brazil's Ronaldo, when he (became) sick in a World Cup final, and said that it was him (Raja) who had paid Ronaldo to feign sickness.
After this episode, I was already budgeting US$19 000 to start and complete my impoverished projects back home. I saw myself building and completing my beautiful home.
We were going for lunch when I met Energy who was sobbing because he had been told to concede goals to lose. The CEO then disappeared for two days from the delegation and hotel. After the two games, the players were still not paid and they went on industrial action.
The CEO phoned Zifa president (Wellington) Nyatanga about the issue and Nyatanga said the syndicate money had not yet arrived. She then phoned Benjani Mwaruwari and lied to him that money from Zifa had been delayed, in reaching us, and, therefore, there was industrial unrest with the players. But let me hasten to say she could have been lying, pretending to be phoning Benjani.
Benjani then sent money and we were all paid US$200 each. The CEO also paid for Robson's internet service of US$100 and drinks. She then phoned Phillip Chiyangwa, who then promised to pay, on arrival back home, Z$2 billion each member.
When we were at Jo'burg International Airport, she (Rushwaya) was phoned that the CID were waiting for her at Harare International Airport. She then re-routed herself to Bulawayo, Mqabuko Airport.
When we arrived at Harare Airport, we found Eddie Nyatanga "Mboma," who told us that our money was waiting for us for collection at Eastlea (East) 24. when we got to Zifa House, I asked Tafi (Chitsungo) about the Eastlea 24 issue and he professed ignorance. I then phoned Muzambi Gladmore who also was at sea on the issue.
After that I phoned president Wellington Nyatanga and drove to his workplace at Workington. There, I explained to him that I had not received any cent for my travel from Masvingo to Harare and the ten days we had spent in Vietnam, besides the US$2000 from Benjani. Nyatanga assured me that the money was going to be given to me, including all my incurred expenses, but, meanwhile, I had to go back to Masvingo and wait for it to be available. I am still waiting for it.
Question - Who did the rooming for the players?
Masomere - Japajapa and, also, we used to do our discussions in Robson's room. We discussed about these trips and how rich paying there were. They divulged to me that they had bought cars and built, to completion, their houses.
Question - How did you view the matches that you played?
Masomere - All the three games were suspicious and masterminded because the players could be playing very well, at one moment, and then suddenly freeze. The captain was Method Mwanjali and he knew exactly what was happening.
Question - Who was your assistant coach?
Masomere - On departure, the CEO said we did not need an assistant coach but when we were there now, Robson and Japajapa, masqueraded as coaches. Therefore, they were my assistants.
Question - Did you personally see or meet Raja?
Masomere - Yes, and I came to know Raja through Japa and Robson who would show excitement whenever he appeared. Actually, in retrospect, Raja and the syndicate guys were already known possibly from previous encounters and they visited these players in their rooms.
Question - Why are you saying that?
Masomere - The previous Asia or Malaysia trips were always the reference point on our discussions. Also, the senior players would blow hot and cold during the match to suit what they knew.
Question - Was any money paid to Zifa?
Masomere - Money was paid to (the) Zimbabwe delegation and the recipient was the CEO, hence her disappearance for some days.
Question - How did you feel about this whole saga of selling out your country?
Masomere - From the onset I was feeling out of place with Robson, Japajapa and the CEO. I sensed I was being used. Ndakarohwa chi-Harare since ndichibva kuMasvingo. I could not understand why Robson was writing glowing stories about me when I was losing.
Question - What else can you tell us?
Masomere - All the Asia games were undertaken to make money for individual officials and players and not Zifa. You did not need a coach to go with the team as evidenced by the manner the squad was selected and assembled. Motivating the players to lose was very easy, as the take home stakes for losing, were high. To win a match, Zifa would pay a player US$100 and, to lose, the syndicate would pay a player US$4000 etc. Everyone who went as a player and part of the management, i.e. officials, in any of these games, knew very well what was happening. Noone can truthfully say they didn't know, especially, the technical team and senior players.
Gentlemen, this is the time to clean our game and, if you don't, then you would have betrayed our trust in yourselves and the country at large.