No clause on player fraud

The Zimbabwean player at the centre of the fraud that got Young African booted out of the NPL is now plying his trade at African Stars.

31 January 2019 | Sports

The Namibia Premier League (NPL) constitution has no clause on the course of action to be taken against players who forge documents or use false names in order to play in the league.

This means that there is no fixed punishment when player identity fraud is uncovered. In fact, a Zimbabwean at the centre of Young African being booted out of the league because of player fraud is now playing for African Stars after apparently serving a seven-match suspension.

The information regarding a lack of a constitutional clause for NPL player fraud was disclosed yesterday at a media conference held by the NPL executive committee, chaired by Patrick Kauta.

The media conference was held to shed light on the situation regarding Young African who were recently demoted from the league after it came to light that they registered a Zimbabwean player under a false name.

The player, Tapiwa Simon Musekiwa, who was using the name Albert Mujikirera for the whole of the 2017/18 season, confessed in an affidavit that he indeed registered under a fake name.

He allegedly went on say during Young African's disciplinary hearing last year that he was coerced into registering with fake documents by a senior member of the Gobabis outfit, according to a source who did not want to be named.

Musekiwa was given a seven-match suspension, which he served, and recently played for his new club, NPL defending champions African Stars, against Young Brazilians in Karasburg.

He also played in the first leg of a Champions League preliminary against Orlando Pirates of South Africa.

However, many felt that the suspension was light, given the fact that forging documents and assuming a fake identity is a criminal offence in Namibia, punishable by law.

Kauta, who is closely linked to African Stars, responded yesterday at the media conference, saying the NPL has played its part in bringing the player and Young African to book.

However, criminal cases are out of their jurisdiction, as they do not have any policy to punish anyone criminally, and whoever wants to go ahead and report the player to law officials can rightfully do so.

“We must remember that Young African admitted guilt; let us not forget this above everything,” said Kauta. Asked how the NPL can further curb identity theft, NPL administrator Tovey Hoebeb said it's a punishable offence if they find out. He, however, did not explain how they will carefully scrutinise player cards and documents to make sure that individual players are who they claim to be.

“Misconduct can be reported to us, as it is difficult to identify each player. The clubs have a duty to register the players and if they use fake documents, we act,” he said.

A source said it has become normal for players to register with clubs or for tournaments using false names.

“Many coaches are aware of this and continue doing it for players. They do it even in the South African premier league, but when they get caught, coaches try and distance themselves,” the source said.

When asked if he had played any role in the player's false registration or knew anyone who might have coerced the player to do so, Young African head coach Maleagi 'Mali' Ngarizemo said “no”.

“If he says that I made him do it, why didn't he mention my name from the start, so that I can defend myself?” asked Ngarizemo.

He said further they will do everything in their power to get the club reinstated in the league as soon as possible.

Attempts to get hold of Musekiwa remain unfruitful.

Young African's demotion means that the players will see no further club football action this season. The country's first divisions are currently inactive.

However, Hoebeb said the Young African players can look for other clubs when the transfer window opens.

LIMBA MUPETAMI

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