2013 sport ups, downs

AS the year draws to an end today, sister paper NewsDay Sports editor Wellington Toni and Southern Eye Sports reporter Sukoluhle Mthethwa take you through the ups and downs of a season that saw Dynamos wrapping up a historic 20th league title and Highlanders finally laying their hands on the Mbada Diamonds Cup. Below is a round-up:

Football:
African Nations Championships (Chan) finals

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Zimbabwe will be making their third appearance in the Chan finals designed for locally-based players only after beating Zambia 1-0 on aggregate in the final qualifier. The Warriors had thumped Mauritius 4-1 on aggregate to set up a date with Chipolopolo.

Chan is scheduled for South Africa from January 11 to February 1.

As usual, the prophets of doom had “seen” the Warriors failing to make it through to the finals after a 0-0 home draw, but FC Platinum attacking midfielder Charles Sibanda scored the only goal of the match at the Levy Mwanawasa Stadium, Zambia, for a 1-0 win.

Yesterday, the Sport, Arts and Culture minister shared lunch with the boys at their camp to reassure them of financial support ahead of next week’s trip to South Africa. They have been grouped with Uganda, Morocco and Burkina Faso and will be based in Cape Town.

Dynamos’ magic 20

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It was three titles in row for Dynamos, or specifically, three on the trot for Kalisto Pasuwa and the most successful club in Zimbabwean football. Yes, it might have been three on goal difference, but does it matter! History was made and once again, Dynamos will represent the country in the Caf Champions League.

To cap it all, Tawanda Muparati was named the soccer star of the year, succeeding Denver Mukamba, who scooped the award last year, again to make it three in a row for Dynamos after Washington Arubi in 2011. Club chairman Keni Mubaiwa was also making it three in a row, although he did not attend this year’s awards function after being barred last year for dressing “like a farmer”.

Highlanders’ Mbada diamonds

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There was no denying Highlanders the Mbada Diamonds Cup this season. They were the highest scorers in all matches they played — 3-2 against Triangle, 3-0 against Buffaloes, 5-3 on penalties against Harare City and eventually 3-0 over How Mine in the final on November 30.

This was reward for two years of hard work for coach Kelvin Kaindu who, on Saturday, signed a two-year deal with the well-administered Bulawayo giants. Goalkeeper Munyaradzi Diya was on the stars calendar list and could soon be heading to Lamontville Golden Arrows in South Africa.

Devon Chafa

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Dynamos midfield magician Devon Chafa was banned for six months for using a prohibited substance by world football governing body Fifa. He will return to the field on March 1 2014. Chafa will also miss the 2014 Chan finals that will be staged in South African from January 11 to February 1 and the ban made him ineligible for selection to the 2013 soccer star of the year list.

Chafa failed a doping test which was conducted randomly by Fifa on June 9 this year just before a 2014 World Cup match between the Warriors and the Pharaohs of Egypt. Zimbabwe lost the match 4-2.

He said the banned substance was part of the medication he was taking for an ailment. He tested positive for prednisone — a substance included on World Anti-Doping Agency’s 2013 Prohibited List under the class “S9 Glucocorticosteroids”.

Fifa deputy secretary to the Disciplinary Committee Christine Farina wrote in the letter of suspension: “The player Chafa Devon Taitamba is declared ineligible for a period of six months as of 30 August 2013 for violation of Article 6 of the Fifa Anti-Doping Regulations.

“In compliance with the preliminary title ‘1 Definition and Interpretation’ of the Fifa Anti-Doping Regulations as regards to the notion of ineligibility, the player Chafa Devon Taitamba is suspended for a specified period of time from participating in any competition (which covers all types of matches, including domestic international, friendly and official), or other activity, or from receiving sport-related financial support as provided in the Fifa Anti-Doping Regulations.

“No costs are to be borne by the player. The player shall bear his own legal and other costs incurred in connection with the present proceedings.

“The judicial body will communicate the motivated decision in due course without any request on the grounds of the decision being needed. This does not affect the terms of the decision which come into force with immediate effect (Article 106 of the Fifa Disciplinary Code).

“Only the motivated decision can be appealed against to the Fifa Appeals Committee (Article 116 paragraph 2 of the Fifa Disciplinary Code and Article 79 paragraph 1 of the Fifa Anti-Doping Regulations.”

How Mine

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How Mine defied all odds in their maiden appearance in the Premier Soccer League.

They were nicknamed the “Giant Killers” as they claimed the scalps of Dynamos (once in the league and in the quarter-finals of the Mbada Diamonds Cup) and Highlanders (twice) in the league. How Mine beat DeMbare 1-0 to qualify for their first-ever major cup in their first season in the league. Despite losing 0-3 to Highlanders in the final, How Mine won the ticket to represent the country in the Caf Confederation Cup next year where they will host Chouni FC of Zanzibar in the preliminary round in February.

The Gamecox and Shabanie Mine

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Chicken Inn lifted the NetOne Charity Shield when they beat Caps United 3-2 in Zvishavane while Shabanie Mine ended their piece of silverware drought when they clinched the BancABC Sup8r Cup beating neighbours FC Platinum 5-3 in a penalty shoot-out in the final.

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It was a big achievement for Luke Masomere and his men as Shabanie Mine had last won a cup title in 2001 when they beat Dynamos 1-0 in the BP Cup.

Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC):

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Zimbabwe Cricket celebrated their first win over a major side since 2001 when they beat Pakistan in the second Test in Harare. That gave the nation something to cheer about.

But far from that, the domestic cricket league stumped off midway due to non-payment of players and is set to resume on January 18 although there are still no guarantees that players will get their monies. Lovemore Banda, the ZC, spokesman, says the secretariat had not been paid either.

What has worsened the situation for ZC is that they are reportedly in debt to the tune of about $15 million and with that money being owed to a local banking institution; grants from the International Cricket Council are chewed up the moment they are banked. Former managing director Ozias Bvute had kept ZC going for the 12 years he had been in charge, but left to try and breathe life into Air Zimbabwe.

He will be missed, but God knows, one or two individuals still believe he should have stayed around to steer the ship around the bend. We are not saying Wilfred Mukondiwa is not doing enough. The World Cup (20 overs) is on next year and the 50-over one in 2015 and that could bring in about $25 million into the ZC coffers, but Liam Brickhill, a freelance journalist based in Cape Town, reckons this will count for nothing without “effective administration”.
Ray Price retired from cricket.

Boxing:

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Despite lack of adequate moral and financial support, Zimbabwe welterweight champion Charles Manyuchi won the ABU boxing welterweight title in June, knocking out Burkinabe champion Patrice Sou Toké to claim the continental title in the fifth round of the 12-round bout. He shined yet again on the international scene as he defended his ABU welterweight title against Ghanaian Isaac Sowah in Lusaka, Zambia, in September. The Masvingo-born boxer is in Zambia preparing for a World Boxing Council welterweight title fight against Patrick Allotey from Ghana on January 25.

Manyuchi was awarded a silver medal in the Annual National Sports Awards (Ansa) sportsman of the year for his performance this year. This is the only recognition that this man has received in his homeland, but in Zambia, he is seen as a hero and soon, they will claim him as one of their own.

Squash:

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Neil Nesbitt and Mike Burns won their 10th Zimbabwe Squash Open title continuing with their dominance as they beat Mwinga Lengwe and Enos Mwale 3-0 in the men’s final.

Zimbabwe Squash referee chairman Lucky Mlilo was voted as vice-president of the Africa Squash Federation on a two-year term in July. He officiated at the Men’s World Teams Squash Championships in Mulhouse, France, in June.

Tennis:

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Cara Black was again voted as the sportsperson of the year in the Ansa awards. She also scooped the sportswoman of the year award. This came after she won back-to-back titles in China and Japan with her Indian partner Sania Mirza.

New minister:

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Finally, the nation celebrated the creation of a stand-alone ministry for Sport, Arts and Culture with Andrew Langa heading it. While we celebrate, the minister has to hit the ground running with the Warriors having already qualified for the 2014 Chan finals and the Mighty Warriors gearing up for the African Women’s Championships finals.

Generally, sport is in a mess. It has no funding, sponsors are staying away for a number of reasons, but mainly due to poor administration and match-fixing scandals. Recently, Warriors coach Ian Gorowa had to buy food for the team during camp in Harare while the National Athletics Association (Naaz) failed to send athletes to the Sao Silvestre half-marathon in Angola. But Langa has to deal with issues in his home first — Tendai Tagara cannot be a director in Langa’s ministry and at the same time being the president of Naaz. That kills corporate governance and this is one of the main reasons sponsors flee from sport.

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