THE Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa) yesterday limited the damage they had inflicted on players who were involved in the Asiagate scandal, but still made questionable decisions that stink to heaven with regards to certain protagonists.
REPORT BY SIMBA RUSHWAYA GROUP SPORTS EDITOR
In sentences meted against the last batch of players implicated, the football governing body chose to hand players hefty fines while at the same time giving various wholly suspended years.
That Zifa have chosen to let players continue with their careers is plausible. They should have done that in the first place taking into account precedence elsewhere, especially in Italy where match-fixing took centre stage.
But it is the manner in which central figures in the trips to Asia have been given light sentences, despite evidence that they were central characters in this episode.
Former Warriors manager Ernest “Mapepa” Sibanda and Motor Action gaffer Joey Antipas, miraculously, had five years wholly suspended while Norman Mapeza and Bantu Rovers owner Methembe Ndlovu, who subtly participated in the matches, had effective punishments of six months and two years respectively.
No one knows the criterion used by the Zifa board to come up with these decisions, but one would not be far away from the truth that some of the conclusions were made out of emotion.
Mapeza, for example, was given one of the lightest sentences by the Justice Ebrahim Ethics Committee, but still suffered the wrath of Zifa because of the differences between him and the board.
Ndlovu travelled with junior teams to China and Bulgaria, but still found himself with effective two years on the sidelines.
How Zifa can wholly suspend cases of officials with stiffer sentences while sacrificing another with a lighter one remains a mystery!
Antipas was assistant coach to Sunday Chidzambwa slapped with a life sentence, but still escaped with a wholly suspended five-year ban.
The same can be said of Sibanda, who was also a regular feature in Asia as Warriors manager, but still made a great escape.
Efforts to get an explanation from Zifa chief executive officer Jonathan Mashingaidze were in vain, as he was said to be in a series of meetings yesterday.