A ROW has erupted within the Zifa Referees’ Committee (ZRC) over the appearance of top female referee Pamela Chiwaya on the Fifa panel this year with the committee querying her appointment and reportedly pushing to have it reversed.
REPORT BY TAWANDA TAFIRENYIKA SPORTS CORRESPONDENT
The committee argues it did not authorise her appointment to the Fifa panel for this year after she failed a fitness test last August.
Chiwaya is one of three referees appearing on the Fifa panel this year.
It is said the referees’ committee had sent a list of two additional referees — Tambudzai Tavengwa and Brighton Nyika to Fifa — and were surprised to see Chiwaya’s name appearing on the Fifa panel this year.
This has not gone down well with the leadership of the referees’ committee which has called her to appear before a disciplinary hearing to answer questions on her appearance.
ZRC secretary-general Tendai Bwanya declined to reveal much yesterday, saying he would comment after the hearing.
“As you have rightfully put it, she indeed is yet to appear before a hearing and therefore to comment fully on the questions you have raised would then prejudice the process and outcome of the pending hearing. Rather, let us revisit your list of questions after the determination of current investigations and the result of the hearing,” Bwanya said.
According to Fifa rules, if a referee fails a fitness test, he or she is given another chance and when Chiwaya failed her fitness test in August, the same committee sent her to another fitness test in Swaziland and she passed.
However, sources said the committee then sent a list of two referees — Tavengwa and Nyika — to Fifa while Chiwaya was still in Swaziland.
It is said Fifa did not approve the list and instead returned it to Zifa who are said to have added Chiwaya’s name before sending it to Fifa. Zifa chief executive officer Jonathan Mashingaidze said he was still to obtain information on the matter.
A source, however, said corruption was rampant in the referees’ committee with some referees being demoted, while others were being fast-tracked to the Zifa and Fifa panels.
“There is so much corruption in the referees’ committee,” a source who asked not to be named for fear of victimisation said.
“These guys were not aware that Zimbabwe had been given an additional slot for another referee. They didn’t want Pamela to be on the Fifa panel. They wanted to make sure Tavengwa replaced her.
“Pamela is the top female referee in the country and it is her performance which had led Fifa to give Zimbabwe an additional slot.
“Now instead of celebrating that Fifa is recognising the performance of our referees by giving us an additional slot, they are pushing to reverse it. There is corruption in the referees’ committee. Some members of the committee just don’t want her. They want to put their own people and are performing all tricks to pull other referees down. It’s the same with Alfred Zindove. He has also been left out on the Zifa panel despite having passed a fitness test in Bulawayo.”
Chiwaya, who has engaged a lawyer, said she would fight her case to the bitter end.
“I think this is personal and I will fight the case to the last drop of my blood. I failed a fitness test in August and I went to Swaziland and passed. It is known if one fails a fitness test he or she is given another chance and I passed when I got a second chance. So did I put myself on the Fifa panel? Is it because I am a woman? Do they have evidence to support what they allege?” asked Chiwaya. Referees instructor Sabelo Maphosa reportedly wields a lot of power within the referees committee.