STRIKER Jerryson Tegete has launched a fierce defence on the decision by the Tanzania Football Federation (TFF)'s Disciplinary and Reconciliation Committee to temporally lift ban on Yanga players.
Tegete greeted the news that Yanga player's suspension had been nullified by the committee with gratitude and warned fans to stop condemning the supposedly implicated players, for he said, they are innocent until proven guilty. He told the 'Daily News' yesterday: "Before any one gets angry at us (Yanga players) they should devote time to be rational and look into the whole matter clearly...they should understand rules and regulations governing the country's football.
"It is irrational to find malice where there is absolutely none. I think its time to be calm and wait for the ruling instead of placing noose on our necks," he said. On the other side, defender Stephano Mwasika who was caught on camera punching the match official refused any comments.
In one of the most disturbing top flight incidents in recent years, Yanga players instigated a brawl with a referee, which eventually led a violent attack on Israel Nkongo Mujuni during the Mainland Premier League match against Azam FC at the National Stadium in Dar es Salaam on March 10. Yanga lost 3-1.
Four players, defenders Stephano Mwasika, Nadir Haroub, midfielder Omega Seme and striker, Jerry Tegete, received a variety of bans from TFF for roughing up referee. The reason for the violent attack emerged because Yanga players were upset by what they deemed to be harsh sending off of their key player Haruna Niyonzima for a second bookable offence midway through the first half.
But the Disciplinary and Reconciliation Committee ordered on Sunday for temporary suspension of punishment meted out to four Yanga players, who were involved in a brawl The committee Chairman Alfred Tibaigana, said according to powers vested in him by article 129 of the FIFA suspension rules, he has ordered for the temporary suspension of the bans to give the players opportunity to file protest.Mwasika received a one-year ban and ordered to pay a 1m/- fine, Tegete received a six-month ban while Seme was banned for three months.
However, the committee's decision did not go well with several soccer lovers in the country, majority of them have strongly criticized the TFF's committee's decision, claiming that they have set a dangerous precedent. They insisted that the actions of everyone involved were completely inexcusable.
They questioned the ethics behind the decision, while others suggested that the incident even amounted to an opening of a full criminal investigation into the proceedings of the match against 'unruly' Yanga players. There are no clear laws on the battery against a game official in Tanzania but it is well understood that fighting in public is classified as a felony in Tanzania.
However, majority of Yanga officials, members and fans are maintaining that Mujuni erred in flashing the second yellow and was clearly not at par with the game's tempo.While there is no time table when charges could be levied against those involved in the fight, the comments from the TFF Information Officer Boniface Wambura indicates that they could be forthcoming in two days. Tibaigana ordered TFF to fast track the hearing of the protest to help the concerned players know their fate in the sport.