Highlanders file complaint against referee

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Highlanders fan.

REIGNING Referee of the Year Brighton Chimene is facing suspension for “poor officiating” after Highlanders filed an official complaint against him after their Castle Lager Premier Soccer League encounter against FC Platinum last Saturday.

BY THANDIWE MOYO

In a letter addressed to the Premier Soccer League and the Zimbabwe Soccer Referees’ Association, Highlanders secretary Emmett Ndlovu cited four incidents of “incompetence” by Chimene.

“You will have received reports of appalling standards of referees in Zimbabwe recently. The exclusion of our supposed best referee from the panel in the recent Cosafa also compounds this perception. Our experiences are not divorced from those of our colleagues who have aired concerns. We accept nobody is perfect. Consistency of poor judgment smacks of either total incompetence or organised and deliberate manipulation of results.

“As Highlanders, we have taken long to complain as we have taken into cognisance that one of us is an immediate senior of the referees,” Ndlovu wrote.

“However, what happened at Mandava Stadium against FC Platinum cannot be let to pass as business as usual. Accordingly, we hereby tender our official complaint and seek redress for the following which are not in chronological sequence:

a) Disallowed goal in injury time. Our attacker Knox Mutizwa effortlessly went past a defender called (Gift) Bello and went towards goal with the defender in hot pursuit. The attacker scored and the referee Brighton Chimene, credit to him.

“He was closer to the action and he immediately turned towards the centre signalling a goal. His assistant referee (Edgar Rumeck) ‘linesman’ also ran with his flag down towards centre as if signalling acceptance of goal. The FC Platinum players and goalkeeper Petros Mhari in particular remonstrated against one another as if to blame one for not containing the attacker. To everyone’s surprise, the assistant referee lifted his flag leading to a small discussion with the referee and inexplicably the goal was disallowed.

“In normal circumstances such obvious and deliberate manipulation would be declared as bringing the game into disrepute,” Ndlovu added.

He continued: “b) While commended, the referee awarded deservedly a penalty when Knox was cruelly fouled, a far worse tackle on Edmore Muzanenhamo that also deserved a penalty was overlooked. One of the hallmarks of a good referee is consistency. It is our view that the referee should have awarded a penalty in this instance.

c) While it is the referee’s prerogative to interpret a foul to deserve such we were also adjudged as being aggressors and punished for it while FC Platinum players got off with no sanctions.

d) Luckily in yet another bizarre incident an FC Platinum player was down on the ground and the goalkeeper played the ball into the field when he should have played it to touch. Highlanders took possession (and) as they proceeded towards goal the referee stops the game. This is not right.

“We await your decision. Needless to say some incompetent officiating adds to the tension that results in violence.”
Violence erupted after the match with reports awash on the social networks that a person had died as a result of the skirmishes, but this was not true although a number of supporters were injured.

Recently Zimbabwean referee Ruzive Ruzive was expelled from officiating at Cosafa for controversial decisions in the match between Madagascar and Swaziland.