Red cards and red faces: Zifa and bad refereeing Norman Matemera

Innocent Kurira, [email protected]

LOCAL referees have come under heavy scrutiny due to allegations of match manipulation, creating a system of self-preservation that undermines both clubs and the game itself.

This season has witnessed a surge in on-field discontent, and while fan criticism of officiating is common, the vocal dissatisfaction now extends to players and coaches, highlighting a widespread erosion of trust.

Despite growing discontent, Zifa Referees Committee chairperson, Norman Matemera, has refused to acknowledge any wrongdoing, insisting that the problem lies in a lack of understanding of the game among stakeholders.

“This season alone we have had 11 referees suspended for different conducts of poor officiating. One of the things we have realised from the reports that we get after reviewing the incidents is that we find the referees were correct. The problem is a lack of understanding of the game from our stakeholders, supporters, players and coaches,” said Matemera.
He suggested refresher courses on the laws of the game, particularly for coaches.

“Coaches, members of the media and fans also need to understand the laws of the game. Sometimes referees are being used as scapegoats for poor results. Another thing that must be made clear is that we as referees don’t respond to social media or the media. We comment on official things. Of course, if we see clips where we feel there was poor officiating we might take action,” said Matemera.

Referee Lawrence Zimondi’s controversial decisions during several matches have sparked outrage among technical teams and fans alike.

He found himself at the centre of controversy during the Highlanders vs Manica Diamonds league match at Barbourfields Stadium on Sunday. His contentious decisions sparked outrage.

This isn’t the first instance of Zimondi’s refereeing being called into question this season. Chicken Inn lodged a formal complaint citing biased officiating in their match against Manica Diamonds.

Allegations have surfaced that Zimondi engaged in unprofessional conduct towards players, leading to Chicken Inn coach Joey Antipas expressing criticism that resulted in summons from the PSL disciplinary committee.

In a subsequent match between Chicken Inn and Yadah, Zimondi reportedly made provocative comments to Chicken Inn’s staff and players, insinuating their impending defeat. During the game, he awarded two penalties to Yadah in the first-half and issued a red card to a Chicken Inn player.

Zimondi’s officiating has been previously challenged by FC Platinum coach Norman Mapeza, who considered leaving football after a match between FC Platinum and Herentals was poorly managed.

However, Zimondi remains a Fifa-listed referee representing Zimbabwe, despite numerous instances of his refereeing being called into question.

List of Zimbabwean referees on the Fifa panel:
Referees Men: Brighton Chimene, Lawrence Zimondi, Tichaona Mbire, Thabani Ruzario
Assistant Referees Men: Thomas Kusosa, Tafadzwa Nkala, Luckson Mhara, Edgar Rumeck
Referees Women: Mercy Mayimbo, Grace Gimo, Thanks Nyahuye
Assistant Referees Women: Claris Simango, Progress Chatsamwa, Melusi Dominica

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