United’s Bageta Dikilu suspended after suspicion of alleged match-fixing

2010-02-15 00:00

MARITZBURG United have suspended defender Bageta Dikilu pending an investigation following a poor performance that included a missed penalty in the team’s 1-0 Premier Soccer League defeat against Mpumalanga Black Aces last week.

The defeat at the Puma Rugby Stadium on Wednesday saw United slip from one point to four points behind eighth-placed Moroka Swallows, thanks to the Birds’ 2-1 home win over Ajax Cape Town.

United have a relatively tough last three matches to complete the PSL season — against Orlando Pirates at Harry Gwala Stadium on Wednesday, Free State Stars away on February 20 and finally Santos at home on March 6.

Maritzburg chairman Farouk Kadodia said yesterday the decision to suspend Dikilu was based on suspicion of alleged match-fixing.

“Bageta has been suspended until we finish a comprehensive investigation to see if the player is in the clear,” Kadodia said.

“It is still too early for us to make a final decision — we need the process to continue until it is finalised in the next two or three days.”

Kadodia said that the “process” includes a polygraph test.

“The whole team is aware of Bageta’s tactical indiscipline that he showed against Aces and that it is not even about the missed penalty, but more the issue surrounding the role he played in allowing the Aces goal.”

Kadodia said Dikilu had “vacated his position”, allowing Mpho Maleka space to score a 51st-minute winner. Soon afterwards, in the 54th minute, coach Ernst Middendorp pulled the central defender off.

Middendorp was reportedly livid at the performance of his player and has indicated he will find it hard to field Dikilu again this season.

If the investigation does lead to Dikilu’s exit from the club, it will be a sad end for the veteran Congolese international’s career at United, whom he has served with distinction in two seasons.

“Bageta had shown poor tactical discipline for the entire first 20 minutes,” Kadodia said.

“With the way he did things — our current coach is quite tough with his players compared to the previous coach [Gordon Igesund] and pulled the player off. And after Bageta went off Aces never won another one-on-one situation again in the game.”

• Tickets for United’s game against Pirates (7.30 pm) are on sale at Computicket, the club offices at 397 Victoria Road and SuperSave in Retief Street.

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