Tadious Manyepo-Sports Reporter
FOUR years ago, Harare football referee Josiah Masimira found himself at the centre of a storm after allowing a ghost goal scored by former Dynamos captain Marshall Machazane against Black Rhinos at Rufaro to stand.
The Glamour Boys were facing relegation and desperately needed to win this match.
They got the opening goal through Valentine Kadonzvo before Tapiwa Sibanda fired home a free-kick to level matters.
The match was headed for a draw which wasn’t good for a team fighting to avoid the drop. Masimira awarded a corner to the Harare giants which was whipped by Emmanuel Jalai and Machazane punched it past the bewildered Black Rhinos goalkeeper Ashley Reyners.
With everyone at the venue expecting Masimira to caution Machazane and award a handball to the army side, he instead signalled for a goal and instantly drew the ire of the Black Rhinos bench led by coach Herbert Maruwa who had to be restrained by the police as he manhandled the lanky official.
The “goal” stood and DeMbare went on to win the match 2-1 to boost chances of their eventual survival. And exactly four years later, Masimira replayed a similar script against the same team when he awarded FC Platinum a ghost goal scored by the hand of Panashe Mutimbanyoka at Mandava on Saturday in a match that eventually ended in a 1-1 draw.
FC Platinum are sitting on top of the log standings with a six-point cushion against second-placed Dynamos after 24 games.
But Black Rhinos were cruising to a victory in that match on Saturday after Eli Ilunga gave them the lead 13 minutes after the restart.
But with eight minutes to play, Mutimbanyoka bundled the ball home with his hands and shockingly, Masimira let the “goal” stand.
And on realising Masimira is the same man who also robbed them in 2018, Black Rhinos, who hardly protest against match officials, yesterday officially issued a complaint to the Premier Soccer League.
In a leaked letter seen by The Herald, the army side said they felt robbed after Masimira and his deputies denied them “a clear penalty” and went on to allow Mutimbanyoka’s “ghost goal’’ to stand. “Black Rhinos FC in the spirit of fairness and professionalism in the Premier Soccer League submits its displeasure on the way the match officials handled its match against FC Platinum on Saturday 13 August 2022. As a professional club, we feel we were unfairly treated due to a number of decisions which were biased towards FC Platinum. Cases in point among others are that the referee Josiah Masimira, and his assistants denied us a clear penalty in the first half and went on to allow a goal scored by FC Platinum using a hand to stand towards the end of the game,” read the letter signed by secretary general Colonel Edward Mutukwa. “To make matters worse, he (Masimira) went on to give a yellow card to the goalkeeper (Black Rhinos goalie Blessing Mwandimutsira) for protesting against the goal. The letter was also copied to ZIFA Referees Committee vice-chairperson Ruzive Ruzive who has of late been blasting poor officiating. Referees have made the headlines for the wrong reasons with PSL also engaging ZIFA over the matter.