Chafa case a wake-up call

HARARE - Zimbabwe and Dynamos midfielder Devon Chafa’s suspension by the Federation of International Football Associations (Fifa) on doping charges should act as a wake-up call for local football.

While we accept that Chafa did not intentionally take the substance in question, we would like to point out that his case is just a tip of the iceberg.

The issue of doping has not been given serious attention in this country and if extensive tests were to be done, a lot of footballers would be found on the wrong side of the law.

And we are not talking about hardcore drugs or substances with unpronounceable names, but the easily available mbanje/marijuana.  

There are a lot of footballers in this country that cannot take to the field before smoking mbanje and have been getting away with it because no testing is done in the domestic game.

The Chafa case therefore provides the opportune time for the local football leadership to run awareness programmes on drugs and substance abuse.

While we acknowledge that the lack of financial resources is a problem, the reality is that the responsible authorities have been sitting on their laurels because no one had been caught prior to Chafa’s ban.

And while it is easy to believe that ignorance was a factor in Chafa’s case, the same argument cannot be used when it comes to mbanje because it is common knowledge that its use is prohibited by law.

So all those coaches and football administrators that share a joint of mbanje with their players should put a stop to the practice and ensure they get their boys on a natural high because they are skirting on thin ice.

The country is bound to be given extra attention by the World Anti-Doping Agency following the Chafa case and the local football leadership has got to act fast.

For starters, all team doctors and medics should be in touch with the relevant Fifa department that deals with matters related to medicinal issues so that they can keep their finger on the pulse.

The problem with local football is that the responsible authorities sit on issues.

We would not be surprised to hear that some anti-doping equipment was made available to the country but is lying around in some office when it is supposed to be in the hands of team doctors and medics.

 

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