Referees came under the spotlight for the wrong reasons in the Castle Lager Premier Soccer league matches at the weekend, particularly at Luveve Stadium and White City Stadium.
Chicken Inn played a 1-1 draw with championship aspirants FC Platinum at Luveve on Saturday in a match that saw the hosts’ assistant coach Adam Ndlovu sent off in the second half by referee Thomas Masaa following a dispute over the Moneybags 62nd minute William Manondo goal.
The Chicken Inn technical bench argued that their goalkeeper, Njabulo Nyoni, had been crudely challenged before Manondo tapped in the ball to put FC Platinum into the lead.
The match was stopped for five minutes following the FC Platinum goal row. Police and Chicken Inn secretary-general Tawengwa Hara had to intervene before the match resumed.
There were another two-minute stoppage when Ndlovu was given his marching orders by Masaa. Chicken Inn’s centre-back Hebert Dick had a goal disallowed in the 70th minute after Masaa ruled that he had used his hand.
Only three minutes were added after the full 90 minutes of play with Dick finding the equaliser a minute into added time.
After the game, Chicken Inn coach Philani “Beefy” Ncube complained of bad match officiating which he said was killing the game.
On Sunday, it was the same story as log-leaders Motor Action were held to a goalless draw by relegation-fighting Zimbabwe Saints at White City Stadium.
The Mighty Bulls coach Joey Antipas and his assistant David George were also sent packing to the terraces by referee Lawrence Magada for what the fourth match official Sungano Makwangudze said was abusive language towards the match officials.
Antipas was red-carded forcomplaining to the second assistant referee David Ngwenya who had raised his flag signalling Mighty Bulls striker Edmore Chitato was offside.
However, Antipas had no kind words for Magada after the match saying it was difficult playing under the conditions where the referee blew the whistle every time against them when they were in attack.
The draws for both Motor Action and FC Platinum in Bulawayo meant the two sides are still tied on 42 points at the apex of the log-standings with the Mighty Bulls on top by virtue of a superior goal difference.
Zifa Referees Committee chairman Kenny Marange, who is also Zifa vice-president (technical) on Monday said he had only heard about the Chicken Inn/FC Platinum through the Press and his committee could only act after receiving reports from match commissioners.
“It is unfortunate that we can only act after we receive official complaints from the clubs or the league. We have match commissioner during every match and he is the main man.
But the problem is that in most of the cases, the complaints are coming from laymen who do not understand the laws of the game,” Marange said.
In other matches Shabanie Mine eased their relegation woes as they beat Monomotapa 1-0 at Maglas Stadium on Sunday while Highlanders suffered a blow to their championship campaign as they lost 3-1 to Caps United at the National Sports Stadium.
Zimbabwe Saints are now second from the bottom following their 0-0 draw with Motor Action at home.
There was not much movement on the log-standings as inconsistent Hwange drew 0-0 with Blue Ribbon in Harare.