ZANZIBAR Heroes player and Azam FC, Khamis Mcha 'Viali' apologized to the Zanzibar Football Association (ZFA) as well as returning 500US dollars, part of the cash the team players unruly divided amongst themselves for finishing third in the CECAFA Challenge Cup in Kampala, Uganda.
Mcha was among six Isles national team players who had refused to return the money. Zanzibar Heroes beat their counterpart Mainland's Kilimanjaro Stars on penalties in the third place play off on December 8, last year and they were awarded 10,000 US dollars.
In a shocking move, it was alleged that the cash handled to the team captain Nadir Haroub did not reach the ZFA office as each player reportedly grabbed 500US dollars. And, the ZFA responded strongly by suspending 16 players indefinitely for sharing out the cash.
Only four players out of 20 that represented Zanzibar at the CECAFA championship escaped the ban at least by then, after handing back the money to ZFA. More players since then have surrendered the cash and Mcha was the latest to do so.
ZFA argued that as long as the team is controlled by the Isles football governing body, it is the association and not the players who should manage prize money and decide how the money is paid to the team. In his apology letter, Mcha pleaded for forgiveness for what he described as 'grossly misconduct' not only to ZFA but to the Zanzibaris as well.
"It was a big mistake to share the money among ourselves without consent or approval of the ZFA," he acknowledged, saying further that the act demonstrated the highest degree of unsportsmanship. He was hopeful that the association will grant his apology taking into account that he is still young in the career and needs guidance whenever he does something wrong.
He makes to 15 the number of players who have so far returned the prize money to the association. Those who are yet to obey to the order are Agrey Moris, Nadir Haroub Ali 'Cannavaro', Samih Nuhu, Nassor Masoud Said 'Chollo' and Twaha Mohammed.
The ZFA Executive Committee was expected to meet yesterday night to decide on the matter. Any stern decision against the likes of Morris, Nadir and 'Chollo' would likely affect the national soccer team, Taifa Stars programmes. Stars head coach, Kim Poulsen, has summoned the trio for a series of friendly matches, preferably away in South Africa. The 22-man squad will enter camp in Dar es Salaam on Sunday.