HomeOpinion & AnalysisColumnistsTemperance, justice called for in handling of Asiagate

Temperance, justice called for in handling of Asiagate

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The move by the Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa) to suspend all players fingered in the Asiagate scandal is premature, but to some extent plausible.

Jonathan Mashingaidze was quoted in the media yesterday confirming the surprise move that threatens to wipe out a whole generation of players.

Some of the players who are sure to exit the international arena are Warriors captain Method Mwanjali, Thomas Sweswe, Justice Majabvi, Edward Sadomba and Lionel Mtizwa, among the countrys crme de la crme.

The decision is plausible in that Zifa is trying to open a new chapter of cleanliness and integrity. It is trying to rid local soccer of corruption. This is a step in the right direction, but the merits of the drastic action in our view end there.

We sincerely believe the suspension of these players will boomerang on Zifa and the nation. It is a source of discontent and uneasiness among the players. The story is pointing to a riches-to-rags tale for the players.

Yes, for taking part in the Asiagate scandal the players were wrong, but people need to look at the long-term impact it will have on football and the players themselves.

The pronouncement itself was wrong in that Zifa usurped the powers of the Ethics Committee. It was premature and may defeat the course of justice.

The announcement has allowed certain connotations to prevail among interested parties. Natural justice dictates that a person is innocent until proven guilty.

Zifa should have allowed the Ethics Committee to interview the players and act on the committees recommendations.

As has always been the case, Zifa was once again grandstanding over the matter. People at Zifa like to grace the back pages of the newspapers more than the players themselves.

The football governing body never communicated to the concerned players first. Instead they learnt of it through the Press. We think this is unprofessional. While we believe they have a case to answer, the players have already been tried by the Zifa board through their suspension.

While he might not say it in public, the person who will be greatly affected by this development is Warriors coach Norman Mapeza. Zifa wants results from Mapeza while his hands are tied. He will not be able to pick players of his choice because they are either banned or suspended.

The impact of this radical action will have far-reaching consequences on not just the implicated players, but even on football fans in Chipinge and Muzarabani. It will certainly have a bearing on the confidence of players called to do duty for the Warriors. Players will forever live in uncertainty.

The idea of cleansing the game is noble, but it is Zifas grandstanding that is the source of our worry. The Asiagate scandal is a matter of life and death and as such it should be treated with great caution.

It impacts on peoples livelihoods and Zifa must not jump the gun in their pronouncements. Let justice prevail and take its course.

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