VETERAN Ngezi Platinum Stars midfielder, Devon Chafa faces expulsion from the club before the season kickstarts over his continued involvement in social games in violation of his coach’s directive and Premier Soccer League (PSL) rules.
BY TAWANDA TAFIRENYIKA/TERRY MADYAUTA
Chicken Inn midfielder, Tichaona Chipunza, is set to be hauled before a disciplinary hearing over a similar offence and faces a hefty fine.
Chafa, who joined the Mhondoro-Ngezi-based side this year from champions FC Platinum is one of several players in the top-flight league indulging in unsanctioned games in violation of COVID-19 regulations as well as PSL rules.
On Saturday, the midfielder led a team from Highfield to Chitungwiza where they played a team from the high-density suburb in a money game.
Some of the notable players involved in the match were former Dynamos midfielder Tichaona Chipunza now on the books of Chicken Inn and the Caps United’s duo of Innocent Mucheneka and Tatenda Tumba.
Mucheneka joined the Harare football giants from Chicken Inn while Tumba was formerly with Harare City.
However, Chafa’s continued involvement in unsanctioned games has angered coach Rodwell Dhlakama, who vowed that he would not play the game at Ngezi because of his conduct.
Dhlakama, a disciplinarian and a teacher by profession, said Chafa’s conduct was a display of total disrespect for him, adding that he had previously sought a letter to travel to Harare to look for him after he heard reports of his involvement in such games.
The coach said when he met Chafa, he stressed to him that that was in violation of government guidelines, club and PSL regulations.
“What I can tell you is that I don’t want to talk about what the club will say about this, but at the level of coach and player, I think I have had enough of him. Just imagine, I had to seek permission to travel (to Harare) to look for him when I heard these reports. When I saw him, he denied involvement and I stressed to him that it was unacceptable and must stop forthwith. He has shown disrespect for me as coach. I can assure you he won’t play at Ngezi again. He has to look for another team. He (Chafa) had not played for us since he joined as he went straight to the national team, but I don’t see him playing a part for us,” Dhlakama declared.
Chicken Inn coach Joey Antipas said Chipunza would face disciplinary action.
“It’s very bad for a player to be involved in these games against the league’s commandments. As a club, we are going to fine him.
Such offences attract hefty fines.
“We have not discussed it as a club because it’s the first time I am hearing about it, but overall it is going to attract a hefty fine and disciplinary action will be taken on the players who have been playing money games,” Antipas said.
Caps United coach Darlington Dodo said it made their jobs as coaches difficult as some players would suffer from fatigue by the time the season starts.
“Look, this is very unprofessional. We understand they miss the game, but playing in these games is risky, they get injuries and it results in some players getting fatigued by the start of the season and it also creates variances as those that are only restricting themselves to the coach’s programme will be at a different fitness level,” Dodo said.
Since the government imposed a national lockdown in March to curb the spread of COVID-19, most PSL players have been involved in money games to augment their meagre salaries during this extraordinary environment.
While the government has given some of the sports codes considered low-risk the greenlight to resume activity provided they satisfy conditions laid down by the establishment, football and rugby considered high-risk remain banned. The PSL is hoping that the league resumes in August or September.