Dagga cloud, cocaine lines on soccer pitch

2011-06-18 19:19

Soccer players are among the increasing number of athletes who are trapped in the unfortunate trend of doping in sport.

The latest yearly report of the SA Institute of Drug-Free Sport (Saids) shows that a total of 2 141 tests were conducted ­during the 2010/11 season and 50 athletes tested positive – with Golden Arrows midfielder ­Philani Shange and Platinum Stars striker Henrico Botes the soccer players having transgressed the anti-doping rules.

Shange tested positive for cannabis (dagga) in November while a testosterone anabolic agent was found in Namibian captain Botes’ sample that same month.

The Safa Disciplinary Committee in February fined Shange R12 000 which was wholly ­suspended for two years.

He was also required to attend a drug-abuse programme and submit a report to Safa on ­completion.

Botes, however, was let off the hook as his status in the Saids yearly report reads “not an ADRV (anti-doping rule violation)” and his case has been “closed”.

Saids chairperson Dr Shuaib Manjra said dagga remains the most popular drug among ­soccer players, with cocaine also making its way into the game.

“Soccer players are also trapped in the trend of doping with the use of marijuana the most common violation. The more affluent ones are using ­cocaine as we discovered in the most recent seasons,” Manjra told City Press at the launch of the “I Play Fair – Say No To Doping” campaign, an initiative aimed at combating doping in sport which has been endorsed by the sports department and the SA Rugby Union.

Former Maritzburg United striker Lucky Maselesele and erstwhile Mpumalanga Black ­Aces defender Lucas ­Tlhomelang are the two players known to have tested positive for cocaine.

Maselesele has completed his two-year sentence while ­Tlhomelang will end his 2009 ban in three months’ time.

Others who transgressed the anti-doping regulations in the past were Mbulelo ­Mabizela (ex-Mamelodi Sundowns), ­Manqoba Ngwenya (ex-Bidvest Wits) and Daniel Tshabalala (Platinum Stars), who all tested positive for cannabis.

The list also included former Ajax Cape Town goalkeeper Denzyl Bruwer (methamphetamine, an addictive stimulant) and former Thanda Royal Zulu Jonas Oketola (steroids).

The statistics contained in the yearly report from last year ­revealed that rugby accounted for 10 anti-doping violations, ­cycling (eight) and power-lifting (seven), the sporting codes with the most doping scandals.

The increase has been attributed to the widespread ­availability of supplements that contain banned substances.

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