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Zifa, Ref Committee bungle forces Mazodze match to be abandoned

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Zifa, Ref Committee bungle forces Mazodze match to be abandoned


Simbarashe Mtembo

MASVINGO – The match between log leaders FC Wangu Mazodze and second placed Mutare City FC kicked off at 4:20 pm yesterday because the ZIFA Referees Committee forgot to appoint match officials.
Three Match officials from Bikita Obey Mbengo, Robert Tangai and Bernard Matenga were phoned around 3pm to officiate the game and they arrived at Mucheke Stadium around 4:03 pm.
A fourth official Trust Masaiti, a soldier stationed at 4 Infantry Brigade was appointed linesman for the game as he entered the Stadium to watch the match. He had to phone a friend to bring him his referee’s uniform to the ground.
The Zifa Eastern Region board chairperson Davison Muchena said he is not aware of the matter and it does not fall under his purview.
“I’m not aware of that matter. I just heard that something happened and I’m yet to get a report. We have nothing to do with this. Phone the referees committee and hear what they have to say,” said Muchena.
The match began at 4:20 pm and was called off at 5: 50 pm after Mutare City goalkeeper complained that it was dark and he couldn’t clearly see. It is not clear how ZIFA will handle the remaining 33 minutes.

The Referees Committee comprises Langton Chitsa and Robert Mugorosa.
Chitsa said he needs clearance from the national board when contacted by The Mirror while Mugorosa said he needed permission from Chitsa who is in charge of the committee.
A statement released by the board argues that Chitsa notified the match officials through text messages that were not delivered.
Sources however, said it is illogical to notify match officials through text messages and not follow up to establish if they have received them.
“What they are saying is not substantial. Officials for other matches were notified on Friday and they acknowledged receiving their fixtures. This was the biggest game of the weekend and the Referees Committee just forgot to ensure that the referees have confirmed. They are clearly trying to save face. You can’t wait until 2pm on the match day to get officials.

“Yes the Referees Committee failed to appoint match officials but the final blame lies with Muchena and Munyoro because they are ultimately responsible for football in the region. Patience Dube who is the board member in charge of fixtures should be aware of all this,” said the source.
An almost similar incident happened between Mutare City and Masvingo Pirates in 2016. The match ended prematurely owing to visibility and ZIFA footed the bill for the remaining 17 minutes to be played.

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