Zifa Investigates Amini Gaffe

ZIFA have launched investigations to establish how defender Qadr Amini ended up in the Warriors’ line-up in the final Group A match against Mali at the CHAN tournament on Sunday despite expert advice to exclude him on health grounds.

Amini, who was rested for the opening two matches because of a heart condition detected prior to the commencement of the tournament, hogged the limelight after he was substituted just under three minutes into the game.

The association’s Communications and Competitions Manager Xiolisani Gwesela said the decision to exclude Amini, who was part of a group that tested positive for Covid-19 during a training camp last month, was made by the board. He insisted the player should not have been fielded.

“ZIFA would like to categorically state that in line with CAF’s medical guidelines, there was a test that we were supposed to conduct on all players who had recently recovered from COVID-19 called Cardiac MRI test.

“Our medical team checked among radiology centres in the country and there was none in Zimbabwe conducting such a test. ZIFA wrote to CAF to arrange and facilitate that the affected CHAN players be tested in Cameroon.

“All the affected players were tested upon arrival in Yaoundé and the Board was notified prior to the commencement of the tournament that the player was not fit to play due to heart complications.

“A decision was made not to field the player until the recovery of the player and subsequent retests. The Board was shocked to see the player in the starting line-up without the player having undergone another test.

“The technical and medical teams were engaged and could not give a convincing explanation on why the player was included. The Board then made a decision to order the technical team not to use the player until a retest had been conducted.

“The decision was made in the interest of the player’s health. The Board played its oversight role to protect the player from potential permanent harm that may have included death as well as to safeguard the reputation of the game of football.

“The insinuations in some media platforms that such was interference with team selection therefore has no basis. The ZIFA Board has set a commission of inquiry made up of experts to understand what exactly took place and whether it was proper to field the player.

“ZIFA urges the public and media to respect the privacy of the health status of the player and we wish the player a quick recovery,” said Gwesela.

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