HomeCommentLocal sport must nip drug menace in the bud

Local sport must nip drug menace in the bud

Shane Joubert’s promising rugby career reached a premature conclusion after the International Rugby Board (IRB) imposed a six-year ban on the former Young Sable over substance abuse.

Candid Comment with Kevin Mapasure

Last year Simbarashe Chirara and Dylan Coetzee each received two-year bans over the same misdemeanours after they were found to have violated anti-doping rules due to their use of a prohibited substance, nandrolone, supplied to them by Joubert.

To their credit, they didn’t try to exonerate themselves with the tired explanation that they used the substance unknowingly.

Dynamos and Warriors midfielder Devon Chafa used the line to explain himself after he was nabbed for substance abuse, just as most international drug cheats do.

Chafa served a six-month ban and is now back in action, but Joubert might have to seek another career altogether.

Chirara and Coetzee implicated Joubert for introducing them to the substance and also supplying it.

In addition to supplying Chirara and Coetzee, Joubert was sanctioned for trafficking and administering the substance, as well as using it himself while he might have also supplied other junior players.

The national under-20 case sullied Zimbabwean rugby’s good reputation and it will take a lot to clean it up, which is why the Zimbabwe Rugby Union has gone into overdrive with an education programme on substance abuse.

Commendably, as the Dairibord Schools Rugby Festival kicked off this week, ZRU took advantage of the opportunity where rugby stakeholders converged to educate the players about substance abuse.

Their efforts have received the applause from the IRB which commended, in particular, the several anti-doping workshops that have been lined up at the six-day event.

The top rugby playing schools which are expected to supply players to the Under-20 team to play at the continental showcase in July have been targeted for another Keep Rugby Clean workshop.

As unfortunate as the Joubert case is, its ruling has come at a propitious time and the ZRU must not view it as negative publicity, but must ride on it to educate players.

Joubert was well-schooled on anti-doping violations; he had attended workshops and knew what he was doing was against the rules.

His case can be used to better educate others on the consequences of drug abuse.

Joubert, Coetzee and Chirara tried to take short cuts, but are now paying for it.

When Joubert used steroids, he “sought a quicker and better option to achieve results”, and he had allegedly been assured the substance would be undetectable by the time he went to the Junior Rugby Trophy finals.

It only proved in the end to be a quicker method to kill his promising career and now he is “undetectable” in the game that he could have made it big in.

All the workshops and reading material on substance abuse are important, but for rugby and football players, the punishment meted out to Chafa, Chirara, Coetzee and Joubert serve as a big lesson.

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