Fifa suspend Chafa

HARARE - Fifa on Monday slapped Zimbabwe international Devon Chafa with a month-long ban after testing positive for a banned substance, sparking a wave of solidarity from Zifa and the local football fraternity.

Dynamos midfielder Chafa, who was last week named in the Warriors squad to face Mozambique in a dead-rubber World Cup qualifier at the weekend, failed a doping test on June 9 after the 2014 World Cup qualifier between Zimbabwe and Egypt at the National Sports Stadium in Harare.

The provisional suspension for Chafa restricts him from all football activities for the next 30 days pending ruling by the world football governing body. In the case the ruling is not out within that period, it also be extended by another 20 days.

“The chairman of the Fifa Disciplinary Committee has provisionally suspended a Zimbabwean international footballer for an initial period of 30 days and opened disciplinary proceedings following an adverse analytical finding in relation to a doping control conducted after the 2014 Fifa World Cup qualifier between Zimbabwe and Egypt played in Harare, Zimbabwe on 9 June 2013,” Fifa said in a statement yesterday.

“After receiving the ‘A’ sample result, which was positive for a prohibited substance included in Wada’s 2013 prohibited list, the player did not request the analysis of the ‘B’ sample within the deadline granted.

“The decision taken by the chairman of the Fifa Disciplinary Committee was duly notified to the Zimbabwe Football Association on 30 August.”

Chafa has until next Monday to notify Fifa if he will request a hearing.

“Irrespective of whether or not the player requests a hearing, the player and/or the Zimbabwean Football Association have until 16 September to submit a statement and all related and supporting documentary evidence,” read the Fifa statement.

“By testing positive for a prohibited substance, the player has contravened article 63 of the Fifa Disciplinary Code.

“The decision to provisionally suspend the player was taken in accordance with articles 38ff of the Fifa Anti-Doping Regulations and articles 129ff of the Fifa Disciplinary Code.”

Addressing reporters at a press conference yesterday, Zifa communications manager Xolisani Gwesela said the association was standing by Chafa.

“The ball is now in Zifa’s court. We will give the player all the support that he needs until the end. We are going to give it the seriousness that it deserves,” Gwesela said.

“There will be a Zifa board meeting at the weekend and I am sure this case will be discussed and made it aware to all the regions.

“I have also been discussing it with my CEO (Jonathan Mashingaidze) and he made it explicitly clear that we should step up our efforts to educate all the regions about this anti-doping.”

At the same press conference, Warriors team doctor Nick Munyonga said Zimbabwe should learn lessons from this case and take measures.

“I think when you look at the nature of this case it will be foolhardy for us not to make an effort in terms of educating our players on anti-doping issues,” Munyonga said.

“It still shows that there is quite a lot of work to be done. We have not even done any work at all. This case shows that we have been clearly exposed in terms of lack of information as far as our players are concerned, and doctors.

“So the lessons we have learnt here are that there is need to step up our education efforts. We as the anti-doping experts, when the environment has been provided for us to come and provide our technical expertise, we would do that.

“If Zifa make the environment conducive to organise these workshops we are available to come and educate these athletes. It’s upon the administrators, what is it that they have learnt in order to step up and improve anti-doping education. There is need for Zifa to set-up a sub-committee on anti-doping which will come up with the rules and regulations.”

Chafa, who was accompanied by his Dynamos coach Calisto Pasuwa, said: “I wouldn’t have taken the drug if I knew. As the doctor said we are not educated about this. It’s a lesson learnt to the football fraternity in Zimbabwe because they might be some who are using the same drug unknowingly. It took me as a surprise, it’s not a ban though, it’s a suspension and I will take it as such. I haven’t made a decision to appeal, if I do I will let you know.”

Pasuwa, who is also the national team assistant coach, bemoaned the decision.

“It’s bad for the club and the national team. He has been one of the regular players both at national and club level. We hope the decision will be made soon. We are with him.”

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