Referee Punished For Poor Officiating

ASSISTANT referee Bongani Gadzikwa was suspended yesterday following his blunder that denied Highlanders an equaliser in their Castle Lager Premier Soccer League match against Dynamos at Rufaro Stadium on Sunday.

Dynamos won the match 3-2.

It does not only rain, but it’s also putting bucket loads for the beleaguered Gadzikwa after Highlanders also lodged an official complaint with the PSL over alleged bad officiating after the Bulawayo giants were disallowed a Knox Mutizwa 78th minute goal which appeared to be legitimate.

Although Zifa Referees Committee vice-chairman Wilfred Mukuna did not mention any official by name, he said yesterday: “Our department has looked into the issue and we can confirm that the suspension of the match official in charge of seeing offsides has taken place. We are still going further with the investigations and we cannot say much until we conclude the investigations.”

Referee Norman Matemera, himself no stranger to controversy involving Highlanders and Dynamos, also reportedly faces sanctions for his inept handling of the match as investigations continue, although it is likely that the controversial centreman will be cleared.

Matemera was in the eye of a big storm last November in the Chibuku Super Cup final between FC Platinum and Harare City at Mandava Stadium which ended 1-1 after extra time and the Zvishavane side triumphed in the penalty shootout.

Walter Musona scrambled home a late equaliser, four minutes into Matemera’s added time which City claimed had not crossed the line.

The Harare side was also not happy with the build-up to the goal which also included a freekick which was supposed to have been given to the municipal side.

Two seasons ago, Matemera added three more minutes, in addition to the four minutes he had put up during the Highlanders-Dynamos match when the Bulawayo side was leading 1-0 at Rufaro. Dynamos equalised in the added time to steal a point.

Gadzikwa was assistant referee in last year’s match between the two sides again at the National Sports Stadium in the TM
Pick n Pay Challenge Cup final which Dynamos won 4-1.

Recently, Zimbabwean referees were put in the spotlight after Ruzive Ruzive was expelled from officiating at the Cosafa Cup for controversial refereeing in the match between Madagascar and Swaziland.

The contentious ruling by Matemera and Gadzikwa on Sunday has sent tongues wagging on the streets and an uproar on social media has erupted.

Highlanders chief executive officer Ndumiso Gumede yesterday confirmed that Bosso had filed a complaint against the match officials.

“The secretary (Emmet Ndlovu) has already written to the PSL complaining,” Gumede said.

The match was beamed live on SuperSport 9 and some Highlanders fans who watched the match were also not amused with the match officiating on Sunday.

Teekay Sibanda, a staunch Highlanders fan from Thorngrove, Bulawayo, said bad refereeing incited violence.

“The referee (Matemera) had seen that it was a clear goal and he allowed his decision to be overruled by that of the linesman.
We are killing our own game and the match officials are the ones inciting violence. It was the same situation at Mandava (against FC Platinum) and as Highlanders fans, we are not happy. During that match yesterday (Sunday), even the Dynamos defenders were shocked. Matemera has been controversial before and I wonder why he is being given these big matches. Why him all the time? Even the Dynamos fans are not celebrating,” Sibanda said.

Gladman Ncube of Magwegwe North echoed similar sentiments.

“That last goal should have been allowed. It was as if Dynamos had a 12th man on the field of play. It was the assistant referee (Gadzikwa) who made that decision, but the referee (Matemera) has the final say. He (Matemera) was in charge. However, it was an exciting game, very competitive, but spoilt by officiating,” Ncube said.

However, Abraham Bharibhari, a Dynamos fan also from Magwegwe, had different views.

“The assistant referee did not raise his flag for offside. I think there was a push and that is what Highlanders were charged for. Highlanders were awarded a dubious penalty in the first half and why is no one raising that? Otherwise it was a great game with Dynamos dominating the first half and Highlanders were on fire in the second half,” Bharibhari said.

Immediately, after the match on Sunday, Highlanders vice-chairman Mgcini Sibhalo Mpofu, who resides in Harare, vented his anger on social network Facebook.

“To hell with diplomacy, Zifa is killing our beautiful game. Matemera was involved in controversy in our previous match against Dynamos when he added eight minutes injury time. Matemera is always at the centre of controversy whenever he officiates a big game. Harare City were cheated at Platinum, thanks to him. Why do we, as Bosso, get a referee from Masvingo when playing a game at BF and Dynamos gets one from Mbare playing at Rufaro? Today (I) am hurt, but I still believe it will soon be over,” Mpofu said.

Tau Marcello Makoni had this to say on Facebook: “In as much as I support DeMbare, to be honest, Bosso were robbed of a clear third goal . . . Just drop your number and get the video on WhatsApp. It was not an offside.”

SuperSport commentator Steve Vickers said: “I’ve watched replays of the Highlanders disallowed goal several times. Highlanders were robbed of a genuine goal. In fact, that goal was nowhere near an offside. This is a great injustice. That goal should have stood.”

Credit : NewsDay Zimbabwe

Tongai Mwenje

Tongai Mwenje is a Senior Editor with Zimbabwe's largest online sports magazine Sportbrief He has been writing professionally since 2012 and currently writes for technology and sport blogs. He has vast experience in digital marketing, sports reporting and analysis. He is also a Sports and Technology columnist with Financial Gazette Online Sports Column and Technology Magazine respectively.

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