BY FORTUNE MBELE
Caps United’s title chase could hit turbulent waters with four key players in danger of getting banned following allegations of assaulting referee Happy Mabhena in a Castle Lager Premier Soccer League (PSL) match against Chicken Inn on October 23.
Forwards Dominic Chungwa, John Zhuwawu and Roland Chitiyo, as well as defender Carlos Rusere, have been summoned to a hearing on Wednesday to answer allegations of assaulting the referee as well as Chicken Inn officials.
If found guilty, they could face long bans and miss out on the team’s title run in, with five matches left before the end of the season. Caps currently sit at the top of the PSL log table with a two-point cushion over second-placed FC Platinum, while Chicken Inn could reduce the deficit to a couple of points if they win against Triangle today.
The quartet have been charged for violating order 18.104.22.168 of the PSL rules and regulations which state that it is an offence on the part of the player who: “Assaults, threatens, intimidates, coerces, interferes, misleads or insults a match official, player, official of the league, public, press or media, or any other person, before, during or after the match.”
Caps players walked off the pitch after Chicken Inn was awarded a penalty by Mabhena in the second half and only returned after the intervention of their coaches. After the match, some of the players allegedly manhandled the referee and are said to have assaulted PSL security personnel and Chicken Inn officials, destroying property in the dressing rooms.
Last year, Liberty Chakoroma, formerly with Ngezi Platinum Stars, was found guilty of assaulting assistant referee Edgar Rumeki at Baobab Stadium on September 22 in a Chibuku Super Cup first round match against Herentals.
Ngezi Platinum Stars lost the game and Chakoroma was subsequently banned for three matches and missed out on a chance to be selected among the Castle Lager Soccer Stars of the Year.
He was also made to pay a fine.
Caps’ title tilt is already stuttering, with the team failing to win in their last three matches, including the one against Chicken Inn.
The Green Machine lost to TelOne and were held by relegation-threatened Herentals in the other two matches.
This saw their lead sliced from five to two points by FC Platinum.
For the October 23 skirmishes, the club has also been summoned to appear before the disciplinary committee on the same day for breaching Order 31.1.23 which states it is an offence if: “It’s officials, players, servants or duly authorised (express implied) representatives assault, threaten, intimidate, coerce, interfere, mislead or insult a match official, player, official of the League, public, press or media, or any other person, before, during or after any match” and Order 31.2.11 which border on failure by the club to protect match officials against acts of violence.
Chicken Inn won the game 1-0 through a penalty scored by Passmore Bernard.
Meanwhile, TelOne has been found guilty of instigating violence during their league match against Herentals on August 10 at Ascot Stadium and they have been fined $15 000 of which $2 500 was suspended for the rest of the season on condition they do not commit a similar offence.
Their fitness trainer, Bazel Sanyanga was found guilty and fined $9 500 for violent conduct during the match.
The match ended in a 1-1 draw.
Hwange have also been fined $10 000 for the poor state of the pitch at the Colliery when they played Chicken Inn on July 14.
Chicken Inn lost that match 2-1.