Administrative blunder costs Panthers

Ricky Zililo Sports Reporter
WESTERN Panthers’ dream of representing Bulawayo in the 2013 National Rugby League semi-finals went down the drain after being docked seven points for using an unregistered player.The ambitious George Mukorera-coached club fielded United Kingdom based Brian Ncube in their 10-all draw with city rivals Old Miltonians.

Ncube played eighth man in the match and was shown a red card by referee Shemeah Mushirimbindi after he verbally abused the match official in the second half.

Western Panthers were further slapped with a $400 fine. In an interview yesterday, Mukorera said they will not be taking any action and blamed maladministration by his club for their fate.

“We have accepted the verdict and to us it’s a learning curve which unfortunately we learnt the hard way. We were not aware that we were doing something wrong because almost all the clubs in the NRL use some of their former players for matches when they return from overseas. My question is, had the player been from Mbonqane will they have fined us?

“Anyway, ignorance is not an excuse and I think it’s time for us as Western Panthers to put our house which is in shambles in order in terms of management. I am afraid that if we continue like this Western Panthers will fall,” said Mukorera.

Western Panthers enjoyed a fairytale run at the beginning of the season with victories over last season’s runners up Matabeleland Warriors and Old Miltonians. At some stage they were third on the eight team log standings and prior to being docked points, Western Panthers occupied fourth position with 20 points.

Mukorera said their focus is on finishing on position five.
Western Panthers are now on position six with 13 points and their remaining matches are against defending champions Harare Sports Club, Matabeleland Warriors and Gweru Sports Club.

Meanwhile, Old Miltonians moved two places up the ladder to a semi-final spot following their 35-18 victory over Zvishavane Bulls.
Old Miltonians are on position four with 24 points from 11 matches.

“The last matches are going to be tight but we are taking each match as it comes. By now we should have needed at least a point or so to make it for the semi-finals but matches like the draw against Western Panthers cost us dearly. We are keeping our heads down hoping to win at least two of our remaining three matches,” said Old Miltonians’ Theo Weale.

Last season’s finalists Matabeleland Warriors who suffered a 10-36 home defeat to defending champions Harare Sports Club and are fifth on the table, five points behind Old Miltonians, have to work hard to make it into the last four. The star-studded Matabeleland Warriors has failed to reproduce their last season’s performance and are unnecessarily dropping points.


Saturday: Gweru Sports Club 19, Old Hararians 97; Western Panthers 17, Old Georgians 27; Old Miltonians 35, Zvishavane Bulls 18; Matabeleland Warriors 10, Harare Sports Club 36

Log Standing
P    W    D            L       F          A        Bonus       Pts        Total
Old Hararians           12    11    0    1    715    164    10    44    54
Old Georgians          10    9    0    1    359    142    9    36    45
Harare Sports Club   10    6    0    4    538    156    8    24    32
Old Miltonians          11    4    2    5    198    345    4    20    24
Mat’land Warriors     10    3    1    6    240    244    5    14    19
**Western Panthers  11    4    1    6    188    413    2    11    13
**Gweru Sports Club 10    3    0    7    162    393    5    3    8
Zvishavane Bulls       12    1    0    11    129    633    3    4    7
***Points deducted for use of an unregistered player

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