Zanzibar — ZANZIBAR Football Association (ZFA) will reward 17 players of the isles national soccer team 'Zanzibar Heroes' for finishing third at the Senior Challenge Cup in Kampala, Uganda last month.
This follows settlement of dispute between the ZFA and players, in which the latter amicably agreed to return the money they unruly divided amongst themselves the 10,000 US dollars awarded to the team for finishing third in the event, ironically they did so without consent or approval of the ZFA.
According to the ZFA official, almost all the players within an exception of three have returned the money back to the association for the proper procedure to award them to be followed. Players who are yet to return the cash and will continue serving an indefinitely ban are Aggrey Morris (Azam), Nassor Masoud 'Chollo' (Simba) and Nadir Haroub Ally 'Cannavaro' (Yanga).
"We have decided to hand the cash back to the players after they agreed to return the cash and requested for clemency," said the ZFA legal officer Abdallah Juma. Juma said the ZFA was only demanding for proper procedure to be followed in a whole saga.
He insisted that as long as the team is controlled by the isles football governing body, it was the association and not the players who should manage prize money and decide how the money is paid to the team.
ZFA latest decision also comes hardly four days after the Zanzibar President Ali Mohamed Shein promised to reward isles players for the same, despite the prize money wrangle between some of the players and the football body. Shein re-affirmed his pledge to award the players at the Amaan Stadium last Thursday during the launching of One World Football for Africa campaign, which aimed at raising awareness on the fight against child abuse through soccer.
President Shein expressed his disgust over the Heroes players' unruliness but said there was no human mistake in this world which does not merit forgiveness. He said the players act demonstrated highest degree of unsportsmanship and the president was not happy at all, but he said since the players are human beings and can make mistakes, they can be forgiven if they ask for clemency.
"My pledge to award them is still intact, when they resolve this case with ZFA, the prize is there for them to pick," Shein said. Meanwhile, the Zanzibar Football Referees Association (ZAFRA) Committee met here to assess the performance of referees who were in charge of the just concluded Mapinduzi Cup tournament.
The committee spokesperson Issa Ahmada 'Jogoo' said that the committee discussed the shortcomings, noted especially during the final match which pitted eventual winners Azam FC and Kenya champions Tusker FC at the Amaan Stadium here on Saturday.
The match officials were strongly criticized by Tusker for what was claimed to be unfair officiating. In the match central referee was Ramadhan Kibo, who was assisted by Mwanahija Makame and Mgaza Kinduli, all with FIFA badge.