ZIFA’S poor credit rating has further delayed the release of the arbitration verdict between Dynamos and Hwange, causing further anxiety between the two teams, with the Castle Lager Premier Soccer League just 90 minutes away from its conclusion.
REPORT BY SUKOLUHLE MTHETHWA SPORTS REPORTER
The verdict is ready, but cannot be released until Zifa pays the charge of $800 demanded by the Muchadeyi Masunda-led committee. Hwange had earlier deposited $1 500 and paid the $800 late yesterday.
Masunda sat with retired High Court judge Justice George Smith on Tuesday and reached a verdict on the case which has a huge say in the championship race which pits Dynamos (68 points) and second-placed Highlanders (66 points), with one game of the season to play.
Hwange lost 4-2 to Dynamos in a league match in May on a day their coaches Nation Dube and Mebelo Njekwa were allegedly assaulted by DeMbare marshals before the match and were not able to sit on the technical bench for the duration of the game.
The Premier Soccer League (PSL) Disciplinary Committee ruled that the match be replayed at a neutral venue, but Dynamos sought recourse from the Zifa Appeals Committee and the results of the game were upheld.
“I sat with retired High Court judge Justice George Smith on Tuesday November 13 and we finalised the case. Zifa paid a deposit of $1 500, but we asked them to pay $800 early today (yesterday). The arbitral award will be released when we receive the money,” he said.
“I, retired judge Justice Smith, retired Chief Justice Tony Gubbay and Roger Korsah are men of honour. We are not mercenaries. In the past we have dealt with Zifa in good faith, but it took us forever to get paid.
“In the Quelaton and Mpumalanga case, we waited for a year, while in the Hardbody and Tripple B case, we had to wait almost a year to get paid as well. That is why we now ask for a deposit to cover the bulk of money to be paid,” Masunda said.
“It is long overdue for people who run football to clean up their act. They should be trustworthy,” he said.
Hwange secretary Burzil Dube confirmed they had paid the $800 to Zifa for onward transmission to Masunda and his panel.
“We have paid the $800 which was demanded. We have sent the necessary proof of payment to Zifa. We are eagerly awaiting the outcome of the verdict,” he said. “I spoke to Mashingaidze (Jonathan, Zifa chief executive officer) and he said the verdict will be out tomorrow (today) mid-morning and we also raised an issue of releasing reports to the media before the concerned clubs know the decision and we hope they will be professional.”
Dynamos chairman Keni Mubaiwa said: “To us it will be unfair. It is too late for the verdict to be released now. That case should have been dealt with long back. It should have been water under the bridge by now. If they deal with this issue now, it will cause problems,” he said.
“We feel that if they give the three points to Hwange they would have handed the championship to Highlanders. This is not good for our football to be dealing with this at the 13th hour because it is a very sensitive issue,” he said.
“The league ends on Sunday. If they give the points to Hwange and we appeal what is going to happen? This is going to affect our football and that is when you see sponsors pulling out.”
Zifa chief executive officer Mashingaidze said: “The verdict is out, but I cannot reveal the contents until tomorrow (today) because it is being typed. The Commercial Arbitration Centre is independent of Zifa, so we will go to the clubs and inform them and then inform the media tomorrow (today).”