Despite their battered image and reputation, Confederation of African Football (Caf), has passed a vote of confidence in local referees by assigning them to officiate in some of this weekend’s continental matches.
Zifa lost confidence in local referees last year with allegations of biased officiating and opted to use foreign match officials in local games, but the local contingent has received a Caf boost to officiate in the African club competitions.
Norman Matemera leads a cast of referees to Zambia to officiate the Caf Confederation Cup between Red Arrows FC and Royal Leopards of Swaziland.
He will be assisted by Tapfumanei Mutengwa and Edgar Rumeck with the host country providing reserve referee Njolo Emmanuel while Maxwell Mtonga from Malawi will be the match commissioner.
This weekend in the same tournament, Gladmore Muzambi will commission the Gunners (Botswana) match against Tana (Madagascar) while Sabelo Maphosa will be the commissioner for Botswana vs South Africa Under-20 women’s match in Gaborone.
In the return leg of Caf Confederation Cup, Matemera will be reserve referee for the Hwange vs Jamhuri (Zanzibar) match.
Thabani Bamala will be in action as reserve referee when Motor Action takes on Black Leopards (South Africa) in two weeks time.
Zimbabwe Referees’ Committee secretary-general Tendayi Bwanya said the association was heartened by the confidence placed on their officials by Caf.
Zimbabwean referees are battling to rebuild their image after they were accused of biased officiating in the countdown to the league title race last year — prompting Zifa to hire referees from South Africa and Zambia to handle the Mbada Diamonds Cup tournament.
“As referees’ committee we are quite heartened with the confidence Caf is placing in our referees,” said Bwanya.
“We are working hard to have our referees recognised for their performance. What matters most at this level is the experience which has no substitution. The more game time they get, the more it will spur them to scale the heights.”