Ellina Mhlanga Sports Reporter
DEFIANT Dynamos yesterday stood their ground and stayed away from the Independence Cup final replay against holders FC Platinum at Rufaro and now brace for some unspecified ZIFA sanctions over their actions.Embarrassed ZIFA were forced to declare FC Platinum winners without a ball having been kicked and without either side even taking to the pitch at a locked Rufaro yesterday.
Ironically, ZIFA seem to have given up on their stand-off with DeMbare as it became apparent that the Harare giants would not come for the replay.
FC Platinum on their part turned up for the match, but found the gates locked while there were indications that ZIFA never booked the venue.
There were no referees, police, ambulance and fans in sight nor sign to show that preparations for a match had been made.
The Uhuru Cup final was abandoned after 65 minutes due to a power cut at the National Sports Stadium on Independence Day with Dynamos leading 1-0.
ZIFA ordered a fresh start which did not go down well with Dynamos and for the past three weeks the Premiership champions had been insisting that they were not going to fulfil the fixture.
On April 22 Dynamos expressed reservations about playing in the rescheduled match and yesterday they stuck to their guns as they did not turn up for the match. This saw FC Platinum being crowned champions.
Dynamos chairman Kenny Mubaiwa early this week said they will not play and pointed out that they had notified ZIFA in time on their position concerning yesterday’s match.
“They wrote to us reminding us that the Independence Cup is on next week, but we wrote back to them explaining our position.
“We have already stated our reasons. It’s not possible for us to play, we cannot take part especially with the situation we find ourselves in as a club.
“The good thing is we didn’t catch them by surprise. We notified them of our position well in advance. I think some three weeks ago, and by now they should have found a replacement if they really wanted this game to take place,” Mubaiwa told The Herald.
However, FC Platinum, who were in Harare by Tuesday for the final had to proceed to Gwanzura for a training session with the Warriors when they realised that there was no replay after all.
FC Platinum spokesperson, Chido Chizondo said it was unfortunate the match did not take place before indicating that they will take advantage of the situation to prepare their team for Saturday’s game against Triangle.
“It’s unfortunate but I am sure ZIFA will make a statement with regard to that and us travelling to Harare. We have however, taken the opportunity to train in Harare.
“But it’s very unfortunate we travelled but we will take this opportunity to get our guys ready for Saturday’s game,” said Chizondo.
In a statement released by ZIFA on their website late yesterday, FC Platinum were crowned the 2015 Independence Cup Champions.
ZIFA chief executive Jonathan Mashingaidze told the association’s website that they are going to decide on the appropriate course of action against Dynamos.
“The Zimbabwe Football Association would like to inform the football fraternity and the nation at large that following the withdrawal of Dynamos Football Club from the Independence Cup replay, FC Platinum are automatically 2015 Uhuru Champions.
“The Independence Cup is part of the national Independence celebrations programme to celebrate Zimbabwe’s hard won independence.
“ZIFA takes great exception to the behaviour exhibited by Dynamos and the association will communicate the course of action it will take in due course.
“We would like to thank all teams which participated in this year’s Independence Cup,” Mashingaidze said.
The Independence Cup final is usually free for supporters since it is part of the Independence Day celebrations programme. But for yesterday’s game fans were expected to pay US$2 for the rest of the ground, US$5 for the grand stand and US$10 for the VIP.