Referee Tichaona Masimba who officiated the final league match between Dynamos and Kiglon last year and a number of other experienced referees have been demoted to ordinary Class One match officials.
The Zifa Referees’ Committee is putting its faith in a new crop of match officials ahead of the 2012 season.
The referees left out of the Zifa panel are now ineligible to officiate in Premier Soccer League (PSL) matches and will only be confined to Division One matches.
These include Onward Mukucha — an assistant referee who officiated the high-profile international friendly match between South Africa’s Bafana Bafana and Kenya in South Africa in February last year.
Harare-based referees Ronald Mwanjira, Bazel Makoni, Joshua Tigere, Emmanuel Dube and the Mutare-based duo of Fibion Ngorima and Masimba Chihowa and Chiredzi-based Denis Maphosa are some of the match officials who fell by the wayside.
Chihowa was one of the referees fingered in the Asiagate match-fixing scandal which claimed the scalp of nearly 100 players and match officials.
Zifa Referees’ Committee secretary-general Tendai Bwanya said the affected referees failed to meet set standards.
He said the selection of the panel is annual, based on performance on the field, fitness level, attendance to courses, performance in grading tests and the referee’s behaviour.
“Passing one of these is not good enough, it has to be global. For our ladies to officiate in the PSL matches, they have to pass the men’s fitness tests.
“For example, Jerome Damon, one of the experienced referees in South Africa, did not do well in last year’s fitness test hence he is not on the Fifa Panel for 2012. Damon has been to several Africa Cup of Nations and World Cup tournaments,” said Bwanya.
He added his association had, in line with Fifa requirements, reduced the panel to 48 in order to accord referees more game time.