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Warriors player in doping storm

WARRIORS midfielder Devon Chafa tested positive to a prohibited substance, linked to medication he is taking, following a routine Fifa doping exercise during the 2014 World Cup football qualifier against Egypt, but is not facing any ban — at least for now. 

ALL FALL DOWN . . . Dynamos midfielder, Devon Chafa, is about to go to the ground, typical of his team, at Rufaro yesterday
ALL FALL DOWN . . . Devon Chafa

Chafa was part of the Warriors team that was preparing for the June 9 World Cup match which they lost 4-2 at the National Sports Stadium.

This has led to news doing rounds that Zimbabwe might be disqualified from the African Nations Championships (Chan) finals for which they qualified on Sunday after beating Zambia 1-0 at the Levy Mwanawasa Stadium in Ndola.

This has created excitement on the social media in Zimbabwe and Zambia, with a website from the losing country, without naming any player, even speculating that the Warriors had fielded an ineligible player.

Yesterday, both Zifa and the Football Association of Zambia (Faz) dismissed the reports as lacking substance. Zimbabwe ensured their third consecutive finals after a sweet victory in Ndola in new coach Ian Gorowa’s first competative match in charge after replacing Klaus Dieter Pagels after the Cosafa Castle Cup in July.

In a detailed statement, Zifa communications manager Xolisani Gwesela said last night Chafa had not been banned and they had not breached any rules.

“Fifa wrote to Zifa on July 17 2013 to the effect that during a doping procedure, they found a prohibited substance. This substance was linked to Devon Chafa.

Fifa then requested our team doctor, Nicholas Munyonga, to look at the letter and provide Fifa with the player’s proof that he was taking medication linked to that substance.

“Then Dr Munyonga wrote to Fifa on July 23 about any medications not declared, but taken prior to doping tests. Munyonga confirmed that the player and his family’s medical practitioner had confirmed that the player took the substance for medical reasons.

“Dr Munyonga then provided Fifa with the player’s doctor’s details. We are, therefore, waiting for Fifa on the verdict of the matter. Zifa has, therefore, not breached any rules. We adhered to Fifa’s request and Fifa is yet to communicate with us. The player is not banned as some quarters of the media would like the public to believe.

“We could not stop using the player because he has not been charged.” On the issue of suspended players, both associations said they had not received any communication from the Confederation of African Football (Caf) save for Zambia’s Kondwani Mtonga, who had accumulated three yellow cards.

“We have received correspondence to that effect from Caf that he is suspended for this weekend’s game and it has been copied to the match commissioner,” Faz general secretary George Kasengele said before the Saturday match.

And had there been any other suspensions, Zifa would also have been advised by the continental governing body.

A Zambian website, Tumfweko, also reported yesterday: “A source has disclosed to Tumfweko that Zimbabwe used a player who accumulated three yellow cards in the last three matches and that the news has sent shivers at Zifa in Harare after learning of their mischief.

“Zimbabwe are at risk of being disqualified after fielding the named player in the match against Zambia yesterday Saturday 24. Faz is expected to file an official complaint to Caf over the same.”

But Gwesela countered: “The only communication from Caf that we have states that Eric Chipeta was cautioned on July 28 vs Mauritius for a Class A offence (unsporting behaviour, dangerous play or holding on to a player’s jersey or any part of his body).

“Then, we have Masimba Mambare cautioned against Mauritius on August 4 for the same offence classified as Class A.”

“This is just mere, outrageous speculation and allegations that have no substance at all and we condemn such pathetic behaviour being spread by enemies of football bent on tarnishing the image of Zifa.

“We would like to explicitly make it clear that Zimbabwe won fairly and did not contravene any rules of the competition. Consequently, we are going to participate in the Chan 2014 in South Africa.”

Faz media officer Erick Mwanza said yesterday: “There has been nothing like that. Do not believe everything people say on social network sites. As far as we are concerned, we lost and leave it at that. There has been no communication from Caf prior and after the match.” NewsDay

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