Zimbabwean referees never cease to amaze.
Report by Brian Nkiwane
With the world’s best competition, the Uefa Champions League giving the green light to goal line technology, I thought even Zimbabweans were moving towards an era where referees were no longer deciding the outcome of matches.
Turning back the hands of the clock to 2005, Chelsea fans felt hard done by a decision which until today many feel was dubious.
Luis Garcia’s fourth minute goal which never crossed the line was enough to settle this Champions League semi-final second leg, firing Liverpool into their first European Cup final for 20 years.
As if that was not enough, another incident happened at the 2010 World Cup finals in South Africa .
Germany was lucky to have Frank Lampard’s goal which crossed the line, disallowed allowing them to regroup and trounce England.
These are some of the incidents that have forced the powers that be to okay the use of goal line technology.
There are some simple but costly mistakes that match officials make without taking into consideration their impact.
A very good example is the Champions League match that pitted Real Madrid against Manchester United, where Turkish referee Cuneyt Cakir dismissed Nani during the Champions League tie for what he called a dangerous challenge.
Few people had expected Cakir to show the red card to Nani, but such controversy is nothing new in the Champions League.
Back to our local league, the man who was mandated to take charge of the NetOne Charity Shield final between CAPS United and eventual winners Chicken Inn, Makonese Masakadza became unpopular for the “eight minutes” added time the two teams were made to play.
As the centre man, he is the one who tells the fourth official how many minutes of added time they should play. He did that adding three minutes to regulation time.
But what surprised many, around the entire world who were watching the match as it was beamed live on SuperSport 9, was the additional time that the two teams ended up playing compared to what the fourth official had signaled. It was indeed embarrassing.
Asked about the boob, a referees representative blamed faulty watches that were affected by the rains, as it was raining in Zvishavane.
I think at this point in time, when other countries are now looking at things like goal-line technology, it is not the era when we talk of faulty watches in the field of play.
There are modern watches designed for such weather, so I don’t think that excuse holds water.
Most people viewed the move as an attempt to aid CAPS United to get the much-needed equaliser and force the match into extra time.
Taking into consideration that the match was live in most parts of Africa, it is going to have a bearing on our local referees being recognised for international duty when one of our best men gave such a pathetic show. To be frank, the man had had a good game but spoiled his work in the last stage.
It will take us years to have referees in the mould of Felix Tangawarima, Brighton Mudzamiri and Wilfred Mukuna who blew the whistle at high stages in both Africa and the world at large.
I suggest Zifa and the referees association intervene and come up with refresher courses to keep our referees in shape ahead of big events in the continent as well as for our local football.
I also suggest match commissioners should inspect their referees before they start the duty of the day, whether they have the correct whistle, attire and proper watches (two) that can suit any weather.
Such decisions can cause disturbances at match venues which can eventually lead to the death of innocent souls like what happened in Egypt.
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