FIFA pardons Zambian player who tested positive for banned drugs

Lusaka- Zambia (PANA) -- Zambian star striker Roatson Kilambe has been pardoned by FIFA, the world soccer governing body, after he tested positive for banned substances.
Zambian soccer fans welcomed the move, with many of them advising the player to stay away from drugs if he wanted to secure a bright career in the sport.
Others, however, criticised "greedy soccer officials" for supplying illicit and performance enhancing drugs to innocent players like Kilambe.
The player, who tested positive for banned substances last year, was put on an indefinite suspension and his case was only reviewed at the weekend.
News of the pardon was communicated to Zambia on Tuesday.
FIFA communications officer Andreas Herren told the Football Association of Zambia that the executive committee that sat on Friday last week had recommended that the suspension against Kilambe be lifted.
Kilambe was a top striker in Zambia's premier football league in 2001 when he was put on an indefinite suspension after a urine sample he gave at the end of a World Cup qualifying tie between Zambia and Cameroon tested positive.
His case was originally supposed to have been heard on 1 December but it was postponed twice until last weekend.
But while Kilambe's case had been delayed for months without a hearing, those of world star players Edgar Davids and Jaap Stam of the Netherlands were quickly dealt with.
"I can only thank God for making this possible.
It surely feels great to be back," Kilambe declared after hearing news of the reprieve.
FAZ president Evaristo Kasunga described the pardon as "good news" but he warned players against doing drugs, saying there may not be any leniency should another player be caught with traces of banned drugs.
Mando Nang'alelwa, secretary for premier side Power Dynamos FC, said he was delighted about the unbanning of Kilambe.
"With Kilambe back, we are sure of getting the league championship.
He used to score in each game before he was banned," she recalled.
But fans David Mwangala and Goodson Mungulube said Kilambe's bitter experience should serve as a stern warning to all Zambian players who might be using banned performance enhancing drugs, including marijuana, to stop their bad habits.

13 march 2002 15:15:00

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