ZIFA Eastern Region Division One League champions Yadah FC have been caught in the eye of a storm, as stunning allegations of the team’s alleged preferential treatment by the regional administration body and claims of biased match officiating in their favour escalate.
BY KENNETH NYANGANI
The Prophetic Healing and Deliverance ministries’ Walter Magaya-owned side is also being accused by rival teams in the Zifa Easterns Region Division One League of using its financial muscle to influence results in their favour in the just-ended league campaign.
It is also understood that Yadah FC was controversially shipped to play in the Eastern Region in May from the capital, a decision most clubs in the region querried.
Yadah FC, a surprise inclusion in the league having joined from Harare Province Division Two League, replacing the expelled Ruwa Gunners, pipped army side Buffaloes to the title and possibly a ticket into the premier league on superior goal difference, after both teams had ended the season on 67 points from 30 matches.
Buffaloes executive Ticha Zikai was seething with anger during an interview with Standardsport last Thursday, arguing that despite the controversial decision to let Yadah FC play in the Eastern Region, they expected fair play.
“We were expecting fair play. They got almost 15 points out of nothing and they did not play their last game [against Masvingo City Dortmund]. That is how they have been getting most of their points throughout the season; they were getting favours,’’ he said.
“We are going to see how they are going to run football in the region next season. We are worried as a team. As for me, I’m considering quitting football after what I went through last season.”
Eastern Region chairman Davision Muchena’s mobile phone continually went unanswered when Standardsport tried to seek a comment.
During the course of the season, teams threatened to boycott the league over Yadah FC, who controversially benefitted from various boardroom decisions and poor officiating targeting their opponents.
The side was rewarded three points for their abandoned 2-2 match against Surrey Abattoirs, who walked off the pitch in protest against poor refereeing after the latter had been given a last-gasp spot kick.
Late into the season, with Prime Rangers leading 1-0 with four minutes remaining, the Harare-based side were awarded a controversial penalty, leading to the abandonment of the match following crowd trouble, and the side was again awarded three points.
Referees officiating at their matches were on countless occasions manhandled by opposition supporters following accusations of influencing results in Yadah FC’s favour.
Referees who handled the matching pitting the Magaya side against Mutoko FC in the capital were manhandled after they allegedly helped the former collect maximum points after a questionable 2-1 win.
The match officials were at it again for allegedly helping the PHD-bankrolled club to a 1-0 win against Masvingo City Dortmund.
Mutoko Traders boss Chido Mudzinganyama was the most vocal person last season, particularly after his side was defeated 2-1 in controversial fashion.
He said football in the country would collapse if it was allowed to be run in the manner it was in the Eastern Region.
Yadah team manager, Munyaradzi Billy Sinani, however, said his side was disliked because it came from Harare, adding that their rivals should uplift football in the country instead of throwing brickbats at each other.
“We were hated because we were coming from Harare. I think those people also hated the ministry [PHD], but that is not it. Let’s uplift our football in the country,” he said.
“But what God has ruled, you can’t change it. When we drew 1-1 against Tenax at home, our third game from the last, nothing was said, but when Buffaloes drew against Tenax at home, then the fair becomes the unfair. Just imagine!”