Ricky Zililo, Senior Sports Reporter
FIFA referee Norman Matemera was conspicuous by his absence at the Zimbabwe Referees Committee (ZRC) refresher course and fitness test that ended in Bulawayo yesterday after reportedly being quarantined for Covid-19.
This means Matemera will not only miss out on officiating in the Premiership that starts on May 15, but he will also be omitted from international appointments until he passes a fitness test. Matemera will be on the sidelines for a while as the ZRC holds a fitness test for failed referees after six weeks.
However, the experienced referee might be lucky and be allowed to join First Division referees when they do their physical examinations.
Eighty match officials took part in the refresher course that started on Friday with theoretical lessons followed by a fitness test on Saturday.
Another group of assistant referees then checked in for class on Saturday and did their fitness test yesterday.
Three centre referees, Antony Madzire, Yasini Yasini and Tambidzai Tavengwa, as well as a Kwekwe-based assistant referee only identified as Hadebe, failed the fitness test. Three female referees, Grace Gimo, who officiated the Dynamos and Highlanders Independence Cup final, Sibonokuhle Sibanda and Charity Mnkandla, passed the men’s fitness test.
This means the trio qualifies to officiate in PSL games. ZRC chairman Bryton Malandule described the refresher course as a success.
“We held marathon sessions that ran into the night. We covered law amendment, handball and incidents on critical areas. On the fitness side, we had some ladies who did the men’s test. Fifa is against discrimination of women and has been encouraging that they officiate men’s matches. As such, those who passed the test will be considered for PSL games. If they had done the women’s test, then they would only officiate women’s games and Division One matches,” said Malandule. On Matemera, Malandule said he’ll be tested in the next course.
Every year, ZRC is mandated to hold three refresher courses and fitness tests.
Meanwhile, match commissioners are expected to check in for a refresher course next weekend that will be facilitated by Felix Tangawarima. – @ZililoR