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Reprieve for players

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FOLLOWING the disbandment of the Warriors and its technical team yesterday, Zifa is now expected to deal with officials that face 10-year bans while waiving the sanctions – at least for now – on players in the Premier Soccer League.

BY THE SPORTS REPORTER

This, according to reliable sources, is meant to ensure the smooth flow of the 2012 league programme, which now has just three games of the season to play. There has been an outcry from clubs that banning players at this stage of the season would affect their fixtures and Zifa seems to have made the noble decision to wait until the end of the season.

Decisions emanating from two days of Zifa board meetings are likely to be announced today at a Press conference.

A source said last night: “The statement will only mention those who were banned for 10 years because board members fear that announcing the names at once will affect the Premier Soccer League programme.”

Some of the players facing bans in the PSL and South Africa include Ocean Mushure (Dynamos), Milton Ncube (Highlanders), Zephania Ngodzo (FC Platinum), Tafadzwa Rusike (Ajax Cape Town, SA) and Lionel Mtizwa (Pretoria University, SA).

Efforts to get a comment from Zifa president Cuthbert Dube and chief executive Jonathan Mashingaidze were fruitless last night. But Zifa first vice-president Ndumiso Gumede said the soccer mother body would issue a statement today.

Zifa disbanded the Warriors, including its entire technical team headed by Rahman Gumbo, yesterday.

Although the reasons for the dissolution of the team could not be immediately established last night, it is said Zifa were angered by the failure by the Warriors to qualify for the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations finals in South Africa next year after squandering a 3-1 lead from the first leg at home to lose 2-0 to Angola in Luanda and crash out on the away goals rule.

Sources said the soccer mother body suspected that the match could also have been fixed.

Gumbo and his men have been roundly criticised for getting their tactics wrong, which observers believe was the major reason for the team’s failure to qualify for the biennial soccer showcase.

The corporate world had rallied behind the team after it raised over $500 000 to cater for its travel expenses as well as $10 000 winning bonuses per player.

The players had also been promised residential stands, but still came short when it mattered most and agonisingly crashed out of the continental soccer tourney.

Dube had said after the Warriors failed to seal a place at the tourney that the board would make bold decisions.

He had also hinted that the team could be dissolved to start a rebuilding exercise around the junior teams.

Zifa, who also discussed the Asiagate scandal – which has already claimed the scalps of 15 players and officials found guilty of match-fixing by the Independent Ethics Committee led by retired Supreme Court judge Ahmed Ebrahim for their alleged roles in the scam – would announce the names of those to be banned for 10 and five years.

Former Warriors skipper Method Mwanjali, defenders Thomas Sweswe and Guthrie Zhokinyu are some of the players who have been slapped with life bans by Zifa. The association was, however, expected to upgrade and downgrade some of the sanctions recommended by the ethics committee on other players and officials found guilty.

On officials, Caps United’s Taurai Mangwiro and the Monomotapa pair of Clayton Munemo and Bheki Ndlovu are likely to be handed 10-year bans from the game of football, while club owner Solomon Mugavazi is expected to get five years.

According to the list of the banned players and officials which was leaked to the media, Mangwiro, who was appointed Caps United mentor in August, was handed a 10-year ban for his role during Monomotapa’s trip to Malaysia in 2000 where they posed as the national team.

Already former Warriors mentor Sunday Chidzambwa — the most decorated coach in the country who led Zimbabwe to their maiden Africa Cup of Nations finals in Tunisia in 2004 — has been banned for life from all football activities after being found guilty of match-fixing.

Former Monomotapa coach Rodwell Dhlakama was also slapped with a life ban. Former Zifa chief executive officer Henrietta Rushwaya has been banned for life. Quelaton assistant coach Danisa Phiri has also stopped working with the team.

The bans follow the independent investigation by the Ebrahim-led team, which handed over the report to Zifa last Tuesday with various recommendations made.

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