EASTERN Region Soccer League side, Grayham FC is bitter that they were penalised for using a player who is registered in their name in the ZIFA Connect player status system, but his name was omitted on the hard copy list availed for the season’s final match day, while ERSL’s chosen champions, Bikita Minerals have six players registered under other clubs in the same system, Post Sport has learnt.
In the midst of all the hullabaloo stemming from the ERSL controversial decision to promote Bikita Minerals FC ahead of league action winners, Tenax FC, Grayham FC owner, Gray Hama — whose team was at the centre of the disputed decision — poured his heart out and criticised ERSL for double standards in the application of their own rules and regulations.
Grayham insists that the player they used — Collen Chiwere — is their bona fide player, registered in their name in the ZIFA Connect System, but the club admits that their technical department erred in giving the player a different licence on the season’s final match because his name was not on the hard copy list that was being used for that particular match.
Therefore, their actual case was personification, and not using an ineligible player, which ERSL statutes hardly cover.
Grayham are also shocked that ERSL is made up of five members, one of them out of the country, and the other two, who also sat on the ‘hearing’ were actually present during their ill-fated match against Bikita Minerals.
What also boggles their minds is that these two ERSL board members went on to redress during a “hearing” an issue they failed to attend to before their match against Bikita Minerals.
As if that was enough, Grayham FC is also equally bitter after their team got a MASSIVE 10 points docked this season under controversial circumstances.
A passionate football administrator and club owner, Hama, who has invested a fortune into the game from his personal timber and logistics business, just to keep youths in his Ruwa area occupied, strongly believes the whole drama has exposed that the regional football body is inept.
Apart from having a total of 10 points being docked, Hama is disgruntled over the way the Eastern Region Soccer League handled the issue pertaining their season’s final match against Bikita Minerals which ended in the ERSL awarding maximum points to the lithium miners.
In a no-holds barred interview at his Ruwa offices last Saturday, Hama said: “I am bitter with the way the ERSL has been handling issues, especially when it comes to Grayham FC.
“On the issue of our match against Bikita Minerals, we were invited for a so-called ‘hearing’ in Mutare. It appeared to us that we were invited ceremonially. They never took us seriously and rubbished everything that we tried to explain.
“What disturbed us the most on this so-called ‘hearing’ is that they were charging us for using an ineligible player, and yet he is our player registered in the system in our name. The only area we erred is when our technical department used a different player’s identity card in order to accommodate this player.
“Otherwise, the player we used was not ineligible at all. Our coaches were desperately trying to deal with a situation that ZIFA ERSL itself created. The case could be of personification of a player.
“Bikita Mineral have Tawanda Mulenga and Takunda Chinata who played for them for the whole season, yet both are not in the ZIFA Connect system.
“They (Bikita Minerals) also have Victor Machopa who is registered under GreenFuel, Prideron Thembani Chikunguru registered under FC WanguMazodze, Shawn Nyasha Mutongi and Tinotenda Zivanai, both registered under Masvingo United.”
In fact, Hama argued that apart from these two, Bikita Minerals have four other players who were registered under other teams, including a team in the Premiership.
Hama complained about how the ERSL has been treating them for years.
“They tend to forget that we are doing this purely for charity, just to keep youths in this area busy and occupied. This season alone, we had 10 points docked in controversial circumstances.
“What is surprising is that six points were deducted from us for matches that we were supposed to play against Rusitu Tigers and Mutare City Rovers.
“The reason being that we had not yet paid affiliation fees when the matches were supposed to be played mid-season. But fast forward, we only come to learn that Masvingo United had not paid affiliation fees on the penultimate round of matches. Masvingo United were supposed to play against FC WanguMazodze when the issue was raised,” he said.
“If this is not double standards then nothing is. It appears the ERSL has a way of deciding which team gets promoted. This is now clear to us,” said Hama.