DYNAMOS say the delay by the Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa) to release names of players convicted in the Asiagate match-fixing scandal has disturbed their preparations for the Mbada Diamonds Cup quarter finals showdown against Moses Chunga’s Gunners.
REPORT BY HENRY MHARA SPORTS REPORTER
The two teams clash in at Torwood Stadium on Sunday with the ticket to the semi-finals of the country’s richest knock-out competition up for grabs.
However, the defending champions were crying foul over the delay by Zifa to release names of players affected by the Asiagate match-fixing scandal.
A source in the technical team yesterday said they were in a selection quandary as some of the players might be banned from football activities before the Sunday match.
Zifa is expected to release the names of the affected players today.
“We cannot name the travelling squad at the moment because we don’t know who will be banned and who will be exonerated,” said the source yesterday.
Dynamos, who had their training session at Gwanzura Stadium ahead of the clash, have eight players facing possible punishment from Zifa for their alleged involvement in Asiagate.
Captain Guthrie Zhokinyi, David Kutyauripo, Cliff Sekete, Milton Makopa, Tawanda Muparati, George Magariro, Wonder Sithole and Martin Vengesai are all walking with an axe hovering above their heads.
“These boys are dead men walking. They have been hugely affected by this thing. They are anxious and you can see it at training and the way they are relating with their teammates. Most of them are uncharacteristically reserved these days,” added the source.
Coach Calisto Pasuwa, who has been mandated by the club to speak to the media, could not be reached for a comment as his mobile phone went unanswered.
A total of 13 players and officials face life bans from all football activities while seven people face a 10-year ban.
A further 37 face five years. Another 25 would be slapped with two-year bans while eight players would be exonerated.
If the eight Dynamos players get convicted, it will affect the club’s charge towards the title defence.
Chunga this week warned his former club to brace for a tough encounter on Sunday.
The outspoken coach was humiliated 4-0 by Dynamos in his first match as head coach for Gunners in the Premier league, but Chunga reckons a cup game is different.
Chunga believed the lucky team would triumph on the day.
Both teams would come into the match buoyed by victories in the league last week.
Gunners beat Quelaton 1-0 while Dynamos edged Hwange 2-0.
In other Mbada Diamonds Cup quarter-final, Highlanders and Monomotapa take their rivalry to Hwange while Taurai Mangwiro’s Caps United take on Buffaloes at Gibbo Stadium in Chiredzi.
Shabanie Mine and Platinum have more than the semi-final ticket to fight for when they clash at Mandava Stadium in one of the other eagerly awaited quarter-final match. Bragging rights would also be up for grabs in this Zvishavane derby.
Fixtures Mbada Cup quarter-finals:
Tomorrow: CAPS United v Buffaloes (Gibbo), Shabanie v FC Platinum (Mandava)
Sunday: Dynamos v Gunners (Torwood), Highlanders v Monomotapa (Colliery).