Devon Chafa dealt blow


HARARE – Just a few months ago Devon Chafa was being touted as Zimbabwe’s brightest central midfield prospect since Tinashe Nengomasha and Esrom Nyandoro, but the Dynamos star’s promising career came crashing down Monday when he was banned for six months by Fifa for failing a drug test earlier this year.

In June Chafa tested positive for prednisone – a substance included on WADA’s 2013 Prohibited List under the class “S9. Glucocorticosteroids” and was provisionally suspended in August for a period of 53 days, but the hearing didn't take place until last week.

The suspension period starts from August 30.

DESPAIR: Zimbabwe and Dynamos midfielder Devon Chafa, centre, follows proceedings at Monday’s press conference where it was announced that Fifa had banned the player for 6 months. Picture: Annie Mpalume

Although Fifa could not immediately release the full version of the verdict yesterday, a well-placed source told the Daily News last night that the 22-year-old Dynamos hardman could have been banned for up to 24 months but the world football ruling body’s disciplinary committee accepted that there had been no intention to cheat on the part of Chafa, who unknowingly ingested the stimulants via a medical prescription from his doctor.

A talented holding midfielder with ability to hold the ball and make the opening passes, Chafa was part of the Dynamos squad which won back-to-back league and Cup double in 2011 and 2012, but it is this year when he proved himself to be a very capable midfielder with stunning performances for club and country.

One of the key men in Dynamos’ quest to win a third Castle Premiership title in succession, Chafa had also made the national side’s central midfield position his own.

Although he played mostly under Klaus-Dieter Pagels’ locally-based group of Warriors, Chafa had also impressed the German’s successor Ian Gorowa and with the new coach also looking into the future, the former Kiglon man was on course to claim a regular place in a full strength Warriors side.

Now all that has been turned into a nightmare of despair as the promising midfield genius will have to sit on the sidelines for the next six months before trying to rebuild his career at the end of February  next year.

While only seven games remain in the Zimbabwean domestic season this year and Chafa will be eligible to play in the early stages of next season, he will still be counting his losses.

Chafa was expected to be one of the leading players for Zimbabwe for next January’s Chan tournament in South Africa, where scouts would be on the prowl for red-hot talent to take abroad.

Reports were also rife that a top South African club was preparing a bid in the January mid-season transfer window.

Chafa, however, was putting on a brave face at Monday’s press conference.

“I am happy to have these six months. It would have been difficult if maybe it was two years or more,” Chafa told reporters.

“It’s not a result that I was expecting but I will have to accept it in the end.”

Gibson Mahachi who is the player’s agent said: “It’s very unfortunate for him. There was something coming up for him in January and it’s a big blow. But I am sure it’s not the end of the world we will pursue after the ban.”

In a brief statement yesterday Fifa wrote:

• The player Chafa Devon Taitamba is declared ineligible for a period of six months as of 30 August 2013 for violating of article. 6 of the Fifa Anti-Doping Regulations.

• In compliance with the preliminary title “1 Definitions and interpretations” of the anti-doping Regulations as regards to the notion of “ineligibility”, the player Chafa is suspended for a specified period of time from participating in any competition (which covers all types of matches, including domestic, international, friendly and official) or aother activity or from receiving sport related financial support as provided in the Fifa anti-doping regulations.

• No costs are to be borne by the player Chafa.

• The player shall bear his own legal and other costs incurred in connection with the present proceedings.

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