HomeOpinion & AnalysisColumnistsLet players decide the destiny of the game

Let players decide the destiny of the game

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THERE was hue and cry, chiefly among Dynamos sympathisers this week, after referee Bekezela Makeka’s actions during the league match between Highlanders and Triangle at Barbourfields Stadium.

NewsDay Editorial

Makeka, acting under the laws of the game as prescribed by Fifa, flashed two red cards to Triangle players while their coach Gishon Ntini was also sent off for abusing a female referee following to a foul-mouthed rant at the match officials.

Makeka’s crime was failing to attend to the goalkeeper Brighton Chipula, who had collapsed as he prepared to take a goal-kick. The referee was supposed to attend to the player first, ascertain the cause of the collapse and call in the Triangle medical team before making any decision. Admittedly, that was wrong.

What is worrying though is the abuse that has been hurled at match officials by some sections of the media, who have taken it upon themselves to be spokespersons of certain aggrieved clubs, who feel their grasp on the league title is being spirited away from them. When Norman Matemera, who handled the Dynamos and Highlanders match at Rufaro Stadium in April added seven minutes of added time, the media went to great lengths to justify, even graphically, why he had added more time as the Bulawayo giants, instead of playing football, opted to waste time.

Various laws of the game were quoted then, but now the same laws cannot be quoted because, apparently, the result is not in favour of some team. Instead, it is in favour of an assumed adversary. Time-wasting is punishable as we saw in that match in April. Highlanders conceded a late goal and the match ended 1-1. The same scenario on Wednesday prevailed at Barbourfields. Triangle wasted time and were punished by cautions and conceded a late goal and lost 1-0. The action by Ntini to verbally abuse a match official is criminal to say the least and we urge Zifa to take appropriate action. Sadly, for Limited Chikafa, he exhibited serious unsportsmanship behaviour by refusing to be substituted when Triangle were well on their way to collecting a point.

Chipula and Chikafa, unfortunately, will only be back with us next season as they will serve two-match suspensions. We hope that when they return, they will be more professional and learn to leave emotions, pre-conceived ideas and their big egos out of the beautiful game of football.

We saw Njabulo Ncube and Partson Jaure apologise for their red cards quite commendably, but when Triangle defender Norman Togara takes to social networks to abuse referees, there will be little or no pity for him. He was immediately condemned by football fans and subsequently pulled down his post and later disclaimed it. It is a fact that Makeka did not add 16 minutes to regulation time, he simply stopped his watch during the Triangle shenanigans and restored that when play resumed, in addition to his optional time.

To the referees we say: Let players decide the destiny of the game. When you make suspicious decisions, teams will begin to believe they are the best in the land, but when they go to Africa inter-club competitions they are slaughtered.

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