FORMER Warriors coach Norman Mapeza is a bitter man and believes the Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa) board is victimising him for demanding his outstanding dues from the association.
REPORT BY SIMBA RUSHWAYA GROUP SPORTS EDITOR
Mapeza was one of the outright casualties in the last batch of Asiagate match-fixing suspects announced by Zifa this week after being slapped with an effective six-month ban despite being found not guilty by the Ethics Committee led by Retired Justice Ahmed Ebrahim.
The other officials who will have nothing to do with football are Monomotapa owner Solomon Mugavazi (five years), Bantu Rovers proprietor Methembe Ndlovu (two years) and Shabanie Mine coach Luke Masomere (two years).
All the players who fell in this category were heavily fined while at the same time receiving wholly suspended sentences ranging from five years to one year.
Although they were deep into Asiagate trips and admitted receiving money from betting syndicates, former Warriors manager Ernest Sibanda and assistant coach Joey Antipas escaped the guillotine and had five-year sentences wholly suspended without any fine.
Mapeza said he was perplexed that although he was pronounced innocent by the Ethics Committee, Zifa had come down hard on him.
He suspects that because he is suing Zifa for $400 000 allegedly emanating from unpaid salaries, allowances and damages, he suffered the wrath of the Cuthbert Dube-led board. The former Monomotapa coach had a three-year contract with Zifa, which effectively began on April 1 last year. Mapeza dragged Zifa to the Labour Court citing a breach of the Labour Act in the manner in which the association handled his contract.
“Why am I being suspended for six months by Zifa? Is it because I refused to sell my country for 30 pieces of silver? I’m really confused by thei r verdict because I thought when someone is found not guilty, they are innocent.
“I never got anything, but some people who went to Asia have been exonerated. I can only suspect that they are victimising me because I took them to the Labour Court since they owe me money. They haven’t paid me anything and I want what is due to me,” said the former Galatasaray man in the wake of his punishment.
The former Warriors captain argued that his suspension since February was enough punishment since he had a family to look after.
He said: “I have been prejudiced of my job for almost a year and they still want me to serve six more months. While I was suspended, I could not do anything and I think I have suffered enough. I need to do what I know best and move on with my life. If they insist I’m still suspended, I’m not going to appeal because I believe I’m clean.”
Efforts to get comment from Zifa chief executive Jonathan Mashingaidze were fruitless as his secretary said he was in a series of meetings.