ZIFA president Philip Chiyangwa has come under a barrage of criticism from football stakeholders led by former Premier Soccer League referee Pascal Zata for blatantly disregarding the association’s constitution by appointing himself the chairperson of the referees’ committee.
BY TAWANDA TAFIRENYIKA
Chiyangwa was elected Zifa president in December 2016 to take over from Cuthbert Dube who quit his post after the councillors had resolved to revoke his mandate.
The Harare businessman went on to appoint himself the chairperson of the Zifa referees’ committee. But with his term of office due to expire next month and elections set for March, there are concerns among football stakeholders who feel that he has messed up during his reign.
One of the burning issues that came out during a meeting of football stakeholders at Raylton Sports Club in Harare was his decision to appoint himself head of the Zifa referees’ committee.
Zata — speaking at the meeting also attended by veteran football adminstrators Lazarus Mhurushomana, Francis Zimunya and Chris Mbanga among others — charged that Chiyangwa had unashamedly violated the Zifa constitution when he appointed himself to lead the committee of the referees as he had no background in officiating football matches.
The Chinhoyi-based retired referee argued that only former referees lead the committee according to the constitution. Retired veteran referee Gladmore Muzambi is the vice-chairperson of the referees’ committee according to the present set up.
Zata said the set-up had contributed to the fall of standards of refereeing in the country as there was no technical development taking place.
“Gentlemen, my major concern is the lack of development of our referees. You can’t imagine that we have only three referees on the Fifa panel: Ruzive Ruzive, Norman Matemera and Nomore Musundire. I officiated with these guys and what this shows is that there is no development taking place. This is why our referees are not being invited to officiate at major tournaments. They are being chosen from a very small pool because there is no development taking place. The constitution is clear that the referees’ committee should be headed by a former referee, but we have Chiyangwa chairing that committee. It’s a major issue of concern,” Zata said.
Zimbabwe will not have any referees representing her at the World Cup in Russia this year and at the African Nations Championship.
One of Zimbabwe’s top referees, Ruzive, was sent packing for controversial officiating at the Cosafa Cup tournament in South Africa last year.