Grace Chingoma Senior Sports Reporter
A NUMBER of Zimbabwean football referees will be busy this month after they received appointments to officiate in international matches on the continent.
Referees on the FIFA panel were appointed to handle matches ranging from World Cup fixtures, Champions League qualifiers as well as the women’s COSAFA Championships.
Top referee Brighton Chimene will be centre referee this afternoon when Madagascar take on Benin at Stade de Barea in Antananarivo.
He will be assisted by Thomas Kusosa and Brighton Nyika. The fourth official is Prince Mathumo.
Chimene will be back in action when the CAF Champions League action gets underway mid-month and will travel Eswatini to officiate in the match between Royal Leopards and Zambian side Zesco United on September 11.
He will be assisted by Luckson Mhara and Salani Ncube. Mathumo is the fourth official.
Referee Lawrence Zimondi and his team of assistants Tafadzwa Nkala, Edgar Rumeck, and fourth official Mathumo will travel to Angola to handle the CAF Champions League match between Grupo Desportivo Interclube and Mafunzo SC of Zanzibar on September 18.
Female referees also received recognition and were assigned to preside over matches when the women’s COSAFA Championships is staged in Port Elizabeth from September 28 to October 9.
Female centre referee Mercy Mayimbo and assistants Faith Mloyi and Stella Ruvinga are expected to be in South Africa a week before the regional tournament kicks-off to undergo a fitness test.
In the absence of active football, the female referees will have to work extra hard and ensure good condition and physical fitness so that they avoid being sent home early.
Last week, ZIFA were embarrassed and had to fork out airfares for women’s referee Thanks Nyahuye who had failed the fitness test at the ongoing women’s CAF Champions League COSAFA qualifier in Durban.
ZIFA Referees’ Committee chairman Brighton Malandule says although they have received recognition, the lockdown has greatly affected them.
“Our referees get recognition and they are travelling but they are not practising due to football lockdowns.
“Covid-19 has affected the performance and appointments of referees. We have not been able to conduct fitness tests and there are no
matches for our officials to take part in,” Malandule said. “So, we appeal to the referees to follow their individual training programmes at home.”