Munyaradzi Musiiwa Midlands Correspondent
A 33-YEAR-OLD Gokwe man will spend 23 years in jail after High Court judge Justice Maxwell Takuva, sitting at circuit in Gweru, found him guilty of killing an assistant referee who tried to disallow a goal during a social soccer match. Onismo Muruvi Fichani of the Joboringo area under Chief Nemangwe in Gokwe South struck assistant referee Isaac Mbofana with a log once on the head.
Mbofana had wanted to disallow a goal scored from what the official felt was an offside position.
Fichani was yesterday convicted of murder with actual intent and sentenced to 23 years in prison.
Justice Takuva said he would have passed a stiffer penalty but considered that the accused had paid 25 out of the 38 cattle demanded by the deceased’s family as compensation.
But the judge said the beasts were full restitution and 23 years behind bars were appropriate for the senseless killing.
Prosecutor Ms Mirirai Shumba said on October 18, 2012 villagers assembled a social soccer team which they named Tank 3 to play against Hotline Football club.
Ms Shumba said the two teams engaged Mbofana as an assistant referee for the match played at Joboringo Primary School.
She told the court that during the match both teams scored a goal in the first half and went to half-time tied.
Ms Shumba said during the second half of the match, Tank 3 scored a second goal and Mbofana raised his flag to indicate that the player was in an offside position.
However, the match referee, Cuthbert Zimbabwe, allowed the goal to stand.
The match continued and later ended 2-1 in favour of Tank 3, the team that Fichani was supporting.
Ms Shumba said after the match, Fichani charged towards Mbofana for attempting to disallow the goal.
She said Fichani struck the deceased once on the head with a log. Mbofana collapsed and died on the spot.
The matter was reported to the police leading to Fichani’s arrest.