Petros Kausiyo Deputy Sports Editor
ZIFA referees committee’s efforts to revive the standards of officiating in the country have not gone unnoticed with world soccer governing body FIFA yesterday saluting them for a “sterling job under difficult circumstances’’.
The local referees’ committee, now chaired by ZIFA board member Edzai Kasinauyo, includes his deputy Wilfred Mukuna, secretary Tendai Bwanya, treasurer Patrick Marumbi, chief co-ordinator member Brighton Mudzamiri, chief instructor Sabelo Maphosa, appointments secretary Edison Nkau and chief commissioner Ndaba Ncube.
ZIFA referees desk manager Obert Mamvura, who operates from the association’s headquarters, is an officio member.
Just last week the ZRC had seven of their officials winning back the confidence of the Confederation of African Football appointments to handle the Champions League games, the ZRC got huge pat on the back from FIFA with the world body’s development officer Carlos Henriques hailing them as one of the best among the 24 countries directly under his supervision on the continent.
Henriques is no stranger to this country having often visited the country to conduct top level courses together with the pair of FIFA instructors, Zimbabwean Felix Tangawarima and Mark Mzengo of Malawi.
Speaking from his base in South Africa yesterday, Henriques said he had been impressed by the development programmes being undertaken by the ZRC and singled out their secretary Bwanya in particular as a dynamic administrator.
“I have been working with Zimbabwe for the past eight years, they have senior FIFA instructors who have been doing a sterling job for their committee.
“From a FIFA point of view the referees committee that is in Zimbabwe is very good and we at FIFA are so happy to have worked with them well especially their secretary Tendai Bwanya who has been fantastic. I think he is one of the best secretaries I have ever known in the 24 countries that I work with.
“Zimbabwe is also lucky to have instructors like Sabelo, Brighton and Wilfred and when I go around Africa I should say I find Zimbabwe to be among the best run committees”, Henriques said.
The FIFA Referees development officer also revealed that two of the three high profiles courses, which the ZRC have applied to hold this year had already received the world body’s blessing.
“We normally do courses in countries as a way to develop referees and they have applied for three courses and two of them have already been approved they have been working very hard and unfortunately they have not found the material in the men’s but they are very strong in the women’s.
“But there is a big change in the men’s referees that are coming up and they have five good referees who can go places
“There was a bad phase for Zimbabwean referees and for Zimbabwean football for a while but I tell you now things are improving a lot and there is a lot that is happening now and you can see even the appointments to matches are coming now,’’ Henriques said.
And as the ZIFA board prepares to make substantive appointments to the various sub-committees that will assist them in the governance of the game, Henriques said it was imperative that the executive remembered that the referees committee was a delicate body that needed to be handled by independent people.
“The problem that we have encountered in most countries is that executive members do not have a refereeing background but we have said in such situations the executive member can chair the committee and convey activity reports about referees to the leadership but he must have a strong committee to assist him and Zimbabwe are lucky to have had a very strong committee as I have said.
“Members of the referees committee should not be affiliated to leagues or clubs because the referees committee should be totally independent and that is a FIFA requirement,’’ Henriques said.
The ZRC were last left a happy lot after CAF named Harare referee Norman Matemera to handle the match between Mbabane Swallows of Swaziland and APR FC of Rwanda in Swaziland.
In that assignment in Mbabane Matemera was assisted by Salani Ncube and Edgar Rumeck with Nomore Masundire the reserve referee.
Another set of match officials led by Philani Ncube took charge of game between Zesco of Zambia and Gal Galghazalawau of South Sudan with Brighton Nyika and Luckson Mhara being his first and second assistants.