HomeOpinion & AnalysisColumnistsZifa must deal with referees

Zifa must deal with referees


FOR THE second time, Shabanie Mine Football Club management and fans have been caught with their pants down in organising security for their home games and this time, poor match officiating seems to only have fuelled issues at Maglas.

It was evident from their match against Highlanders on Good Friday that Shabanie, as the hosts, had failed to put in place necessary security measures to protect visitors and their own fans. Luckily for them, the Premier Soccer League (PSL) Disciplinary Committee did not find any anomaly in that.

The match on Good Friday had to be stopped as reinforcements were called in. The PSL rules and regulations are explicit that it is the duty of the home team to ensure adequate security. But for the disciplinary committee, it was the visiting team that should have taken care of its own.

This is shocking, to say the least, and can only be the view of people whose understanding of football is nothing more than myopic.

To say the standards of match officiating in the country have gone to the dogs could be an understatement of the century. There are no referees to talk about and when club officials and fans claim match-fixing, somebody has to stand up and listen.

A three-day referees’ course took place last week. We believe that events at Maglas should not happen again, for in due course there shall be loss of life, but our referees do not want to be held responsible. Yes, they are human, but when a team scores two own goals and those goals get disallowed, then there is a serious problem.

From the events at Maglas, one can easily tell that the two own goals were genuine and even the goal by Harare City should have stood. At the end of the day, it is Shabanie Mine who will be charged and the referees, the real perpetrators of violence, will go scot-free.

In other countries where matters of indiscipline by match officials are taken seriously, referees are downgraded because there are technical review committees that look at such issues.

We have not seen that to be a necessary evil because anyone who sits on the review committee would want to be paid. Sponsors Delta Beverages, NetOne, BancABC and Mbada Diamonds will have their names soiled because of these terrible match officials.

Some, who are even on the Fifa panel, fail fitness tests, yet they are fixtured, two weeks in a row to handle the big matches between Dynamos and Highlanders and you really wonder what the intention is.

In 2011, we had Mbada Diamonds bringing in referees from South Africa for their competition after alarm had been raised over the deteriorating standards.

It is our firm belief that Zifa is not playing its part and Ndumiso Gumede, who is in charge of referees in the country, must admit that his men have failed the nation. Gumede cannot continue to defend this pathetic lot.

Football deserves better, fans deserve better and sponsors deserve even better.

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