Dynamos' Asiagate fury

HARARE - Defending Castle Premiership and Mbada Diamonds Cup champions Dynamos have expressed discontentment over the possibility of losing at least six players to bans in the Asiagate match-fixing scandal.

DeMbare are already without experienced defender Guthrie Zhokinyi after Zifa last week named the Glamour Boys captain among the 15 individuals slapped with life bans after being found guilty of match-fixing by an Independent Ethics Committee.

The Harare giants reacted by not fielding the centre back in Sunday’s Mbada Diamonds Cup 3-0 quarter-final win over Gunners at Baghdad Stadium in Kwekwe.

In addition to Zhokinyi, the record Zimbabwe champions also face the possibility of losing five other key players. Tawanda Muparati, Martin Vengesayi, Milton Makopa, Augustine Mbara and Cliff Sekete are awaiting their fate following leaked information that they face between five to 10-year bans.

 “As a club, we feel that the timing of the announcement of these bans is all wrong considering the stage of the season,” Dynamos chairman Kenny Mubaiwa told the Daily News yesterday.

“We were now looking at retaining our league and Mbada titles but there is too much uncertainty regarding our key players. Zifa knows the season isabout to end and I do not see anything wrong if they had made the announcements at the end of the season. As a club, we begin to wonder what the hurry is all about. We are now treating this as sabotage.”

Mubaiwa cited the announcement of the life bans late last Friday, which forced the club to withdraw Zhokinyi from the squad that travelled to Kwekwe.

“All week the coaches had been working with Guthrie in their plans and they even included him in the final team that was going to face Gunners,” Mubaiwa said.

“Then all of a sudden we heard the news that he had been banned for life late on Friday evening and we had to make a decision whether to include him or not. This same thing might happen this week ahead of our crucial game against Highlanders. We might be told not to use several of our key players at the 11th hour.

“All we are asking for is that that Zifa come out early and notify all clubs the names of the players who have been banned so that there are no last minute changes for weekend’s games.”

Dynamos host second-placed Highlanders this weekend at Rufaro Stadium in what will be effectively the title decider.

Bosso are just two points behind the log leaders.

While Dynamos left Zhokinyi out of the squad following the announcement of his ban, it was a different story in the South African Premiership, where Bidvest Wits used defender Thomas Sweswe on Friday while Black Leopards coach Sunday Chidzambwa sat on the bench against Orlando Pirates despite the Zifa ban.

Asked on why Dynamos left Zhokinyi out, Mubaiwa said: “As a club, we decided not to field him because we didn’t want to attract any further sanctions from authorities.

“Who knows, we could have been kicked out of the cup competition if we had ignored the ban and fielded Guthrie.”

Mubaiwa said Dynamos was going to stand by their players and help them fight the sanctions.

“We are going to hold a meeting any time this week once our secretary general (Raymond Kazembe) is back in the country,” he said.

“We have talked to Guthrie and the other players that are likely to be affected and we have assured them that we will do our best to help them through this difficult phase.”

Dynamos have every reason to be worried about the bans as losing Muparati and Sekete in particular at this critical stage of the season will be a massive blow to their title and Mbada quest.

Muparati has been the Glamour Boy’s driving force in central midfield this season and was outstanding at the weekend against Gunners in the cup.

As for Sekete, the former Gunners man has added more options down the wing for DeMbare since his mid-season move from Chando Kupisa.

 

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