THE off-field behaviour of footballers came under the microscope again last Sunday when FC Platinum midfielder and former Warriors international Mthulisi Maphosa handed himself over to the police for allegedly ripping open a Mpopoma man’s stomach following an altercation.
The man, Isaac Mazambane who was rushed to hospital, said trouble started when Maphosa went to Khongo Bar and got red under the neck when an unidentified man mobile-vendor blocked his path as he tried to park his car.
This incensed the defensive midfielder who alighted from his car and slapped the man compelling Mazambane to intervene and Maphosa turned on him and stabbed him on the abdomen.
As expected the media jumped on this incident like a pack of hounds fighting for a meaty bone because of a famous footballer gone haywire. Better still the player turns out for the richest football club in Zimbabwe and the incident makes a-damn-good-read and increases the sale of newspaper copies.
The alleged crime that Maphosa committed is without doubt an outrage and if found guilty he should be punished and the football authorities must come down hard on him for soiling the beautiful image of football.
This is an isolated incident but triggers the mind to go down memory lane, to look into the archives, to recall other players who got into trouble for misdeeds, for doing the unexpected.
Footballers have, since football was born, made and continue making headlines for all the wrong reasons. Serious criminal allegations and unsavoury tales depicting a lurid off-the-field lifestyle have always brought their behaviour into sharp focus.
PSL players routinely get into the news for committing stupid crimes and getting busted. These guys are typically making money, yet they can’t get their act together and just behave like law-abiding citizens. Their behaviour has cost them public humiliation and maybe a short suspension. While many players have proven themselves to be incapable of normal human behaviour, the following list will only include those with actual legal problems off the field.
If Sunday Leisure has left a player you believe deserves to be on the list you can send your comments to From the terraces.
The Premier Soccer League (PSL) match between Chicken Inn and FC Platinum at Luveve Stadium on 27 August will not be remembered for the exciting football that was played and the goals that were scored but misdemeanor of reigning-Soccer-Star-of-the-Year Charles Sibanda.
Instead of putting his boots to play and score for his team, Sibanda decided to momentarily cross the sporting divide to Boxing by assaulting and pouring urine on Highlanders and Warriors legend and now Chicken Inn assistance coach, Adam Ndlovu in juju saga that we will never really know much about.
Sibanda was arrested and whisked away by the police after the match.
Not to be outdone the PSL’s disciplinary panel consisting of Harare lawyer, Don Moyo, Vusa Vuma (lawyer) and Brighton Mudzamiri (a retired referee and serving police officer) fined him $1000 and slapped him with a two match suspension.
Due to Soccer-Star-of-the-Year selection no nonsense rules, Sibanda’s crime rules out of the running of this years player-of-the-year selection.
If there is a player whose talent was overshadowed by his penchant for transgressions it is Proud Zireni. The former Under-17, Under-20 and Bantu Rovers defender first got into trouble with the law after he went berserk, assaulted his ex-girlfriend, Tracy Ngwenya and her mother and stoned their family after being dumped.
Zireni went on to assault Sunday Leisure Editor, Delta Ndou who was interviewing his mother by grabbing her by the throat and viciously slamming her against the wall.
Early this year, Zireni strayed into the realm of criminality when he was convicted of stealing a friend’s television and other properties valued at $180.
Zireni was found guilty of disappearing with Patrick Kaunda’s TV, jacket, waist-coat and a stove after being left home alone by Kaunda who had gone clubbing.
The 18-year-old was convicted on his own plea-of-guilty and sentenced to three-months in prison, wholly suspended on condition he restitutes $60.
Gift Lunga Junior
It is a well known but undocumented fact that many footballers smoke the recreational drug, marijuana commonly known as mbanje in Zimbabwe. But one player who was caught red-handed smoking the weed is Highlanders FC’s long serving left back, Gift Lunga.
Thebe as Lunga is affectionately known was picked up by some police officers in civilian clothes at around at 9 am at Glengarry shopping centre in Mzilikazi.
For such a well known celebrity it was embarrassing for the over-the-heel veteran to be seen by his adoring fans being dragged to central police station where he was fined and released.
Lunga also did a Mthulisi Maphosa when he stabbed an unidentified man in Mzilikazi during a brawl. He was fined and released as the wound suffered by the man was not serious.
If there is a player who has provided the media with enough garish news to fill a single tabloid publication it is Chipo Tsodzo known by those who have watched him play as Jack Roller. Manchester United Goalie, David de Gea might be the butt of jokes because he stole a doughnut at Tesco Extra but when proximity comes to play his antics pale in comparison to Tsodzo’s sticky fingers which saw the Zimbabwe Saints player stealing a beer can at Metropolis Pub and Grill.
The sticky-fingered former nomadic player also got into trouble when a reveler at a night spot accused Tsodzo of stealing his mobile phone, charges that Tsodzo vehemently denied.
Tsodzo’s fingers, if all the allegations are to be believed have a life of their own as they are said to have gone from sticky to patting after a woman filed a complaint to the police that the player had indecently assaulted her at the Ibumba Arts Festival by forcibly touching her in the wrong places.
Zimbabwe football has just fallen in love with diamonds after diamond mining giant; Mbada Diamond launched a $1 million PSL 16-team-knockout tournament. But former Dynamos midfielder, Tonderai Ndiraya found the value of diamond way back in 2007 before football did.
He was arrested in Harare's Avenues area while trying to sell 16 diamonds he had brought from Mutare.
The Dynamos assistant coach, Ndiraya who was still kicking the ball at 30 for Dembare pleaded guilty to illegally possessing the diamonds, saying he had been given them by his uncle at Chakohwa in Manicaland and he intended to sell them in Harare.
The football world will always fondly remember Peter Ndlovu for the goals he scored for the national team, Highlanders, Coventry City, Sheffield United, Birmingham, Huddersfield and Mamelodi Sundowns
But it also will not easily forget his off-field exploits that landed him in trouble many times. A case-in-point is when he handed himself to the police for allegedly assaulting his then pregnant girlfriend, Pinky Duda before arming himself with a car jack which he used to smash windows of his posh townhouse in Lyndhurst, Johannesburg.
Duda said in her statement that the two had fought because a woman claiming to be Ndlovu’s girlfriend was constantly phoning him, although he had insisted their relationship was over.
Ndlovu appeared in the Hillbrow magistrates’ court, where Duda withdrew the case. She told prosecutors that she had decided to drop the charges after a meeting between their families.
This is not the first time Ndlovu has been into women troubles as a string of women have lined up to claim maintenance from him. In 2004 a magistrate ordered him to pay R1900 a month in maintenance after he fathered a child to Alice Thabulo.
In February last year Ntswaki Khathong claimed she miscarried Ndlovu’s baby after discovering that he was married to singer Sharon Dee.
The singer demanded R36000 a month from him, R13000 for each of their two children and R10000 for herself.
In 2002 former Dynamos and Supersport United defender Nyasha Chazika was in the crosshairs of the law when he was accused of statutory raping and impregnating a 15-year-old girl from Mbare high-density suburb.
The scandal became national news as Chazika was the leading light of Moses Chunga’s kidz-net project at Dynamos that unearthed promising young talents that included Norman Maroto, Samson Choruwa and Eddie Mashiri.
Chazika was acquitted of the charges as the as the magistrate concluded that the roving defender was deceived and under the impression that the girl was above 16. The magistrate said though the girl’s birth certificate indicated that she was 15 she looked much older.