ZIFA Referees Committee vice chairman Gladmore Muzambi believes local officials have made considerable progress in their development and is confident they could make the cut on the CAF Elite A panel which will enable them to be assigned to handle matches at the Africa Cup of Nations.
Zimbabwe do not have any official on the A panel, but Muzambi is optimistic that there could be a turn of fortunes for the country’s referees this year. The veteran referees’ administrator however, challenged the local officials to work harder in order to achieve the feat.
ZIFA yesterday also released the men and women who have made it on the 2018 FIFA panels with the Harare pair of Norman Matemera and Nomore Musundire headlining the list together with Bulawayo’s Philan Ncube.
Matemera, an elite B panel official, was last month on the verge of making it on the panel of referees that will handle matches at the African Nations Championships, but an injury dashed his hopes.
The fifth edition of the CHAN tournament will burst into life in Morocco on January 13. Just as the Warriors, who are missing the CHAN competition for the first time since its inauguration in 2009, Zimbabwean referees will also be conspicuous by their absence from the tourney.
But Muzambi, pointing to the huge potential shown by two of their upcoming referees Tafadzwa Nkala and Mercy Mayimbo and the good showings by the likes of Musundire, Ncube, and Matemera in their continental club and COSAFA assignments, said the future could only get brighter for local officials.
Nkala and Mayimbo are the “new recruits’’ on the panel and the ZRC, which is chaired by the association’s boss Philip Chiyangwa is confident the duo will withstand the challenges that comes with handling international assignments when called to do so. Muzambi said both his committee and ZIFA were happy with the teams that have made it on the FIFA panels.
“The panel was recommended by the committee and accepted by ZIFA and it is purely based on merit. It is our hope that the selected people will measure up to the expectations given that FIFA are now looking up to referees in a different way from the past.
“FIFA now want referees to read the game and understand what the game wants which is more the application of common sense to buttress their knowledge and interpretation of the laws of the game,’’ Muzambi said.
Muzambi also said ZIFA had lined up three major technical courses and four fitness tests for the referees this year and these would begin with the season opening course next month and would include a FIFA Mas course.
Apart from the trio of Matemera, Musundire and Ncube, the ZIFA Referees Committee have also kept faith with assistant referees Thomas Kusosa and Salani Ncube who have been retained among a crew of six that will be tasked with running the lines on the FIFA panel.
There were places too for the experienced trio of Rusina Majo, Stella Ruvinga and Claris Simango on the women’s panel. But reigning Castle Premiership Referee of the Year Ruzive Ruzive misses out on the panel once again despite unfounded claims by former top-flight official Pascal Zata that the former was part of a cast of FIFA referees.
Zata appears to have dragged himself into the politics that normally characterise the domestic game in the run up to ZIFA elections and this week also made sensational claims to some gullible audience that Chiyangwa had flouted the association’s constitution by chairing the referees’ body.
But a closer look at the ZIFA constitution reveals that in fact, it is Zata who seems to have been overwhelmed with interpreting the statutes as he was when, clad in some oversize shots, he struggled to handle a high profile Premiership derby clash between Dynamos and CAPS United at the National Sports Stadium on June 18, 2011.
Article 41 (2) of the ZIFA constitution states that:
“The chairmen of the standing committees shall be members of the Executive Committee, with the exception of those for the Audit Committee, who may not belong to the Executive Committee. The members of each standing committee shall be appointed by the Executive Committee on the proposal of the Members of ZIFA or the President of ZIFA.”
Women Assistant Referees: