ZIFA use referees, paralyse PSL
THE ousted ZIFA board flexed their muscle, in a disruptive way, by barring referees from handling the Castle Lager Premiership matches set for yesterday.
The association have full control over the referees and ZIFA board member, Bryton Malandule, is in charge of the match officials.
However, the ZIFA Referees Committee was not suspended by the Sports Commission, which meant they should have continued with their duties, as scheduled.
Sports Commission chairman, Gerald Mlotshwa, had earlier told a media briefing their suspension of the ZIFA board did not mean the cancellation of the domestic football activities.
He probably didn’t know that the same ZIFA board would use the first opportunity, available to them, to try and bring the entire local football to a halt.
Ironically, while the Kenyan football leadership was dissolved by the country’s Government, last week, the Harambee Stars hosted a World Cup qualifier, against Rwanda, on Monday.
The ousted FKF leaders did not try to use their frustration, generated by their dismissal, to ensure no football would be played in the East African country.
The decision by the ZIFA leaders will make Cuthbert Dube look like a dove.
When his board was kicked out of office, by Councillors, in May 2015, it created a crisis in the country.
However, Dube did not try and use referees, as his weapon, to disrupt the local programme as 128 league matches, were played between the week he was dismissed, in May 2015, to the day he resigned, in October that year. The matches included two Battle of Zimbabwe showdowns between Dynamos and Highlanders.
The Chibuku Super Cup, which started on August 7, 2015, also ran its course, and was at the semi-final stage, by the time Dube finally resigned.
However, the ousted ZIFA board members decided to flex a bit of their muscles yesterday, by using referees, without any concern whatsoever, for sponsors like Delta Beverages.
The league sponsors had flighted advertisements, advising the public of the midweek matches, while clubs like Dynamos and Ngezi Platinum had travelled long distances.
All PSL matches, which had been lined up for yesterday, were abandoned.
Highlanders were scheduled to clash with Ngezi at Barbourfields while Cranborne Bullets had a date with Bulawayo Chiefs at Sakubva.
Triangle were set to face Dynamos at Gibbo while Yadah were scheduled to play ZPC Kariba.
Herentals were set to host Black Rhinos.
In matches were set for today, FC Platinum were set to take on Chicken Inn at Mandava.
CAPS United were scheduled for a date against Harare City at the National Sports Stadium. And tomorrow Tenax were set to play Whawha at Sakubva while Bulawayo City would have taken on Manica Diamonds at Barbourfields.
The Chibuku Super Cup semi-finals are scheduled for this weekend.
The PSL have since postponed all Match Day fixtures.
“This serves advise that all the Castle Lager Premier Soccer League Match Day Two fixtures scheduled for this week have been postponed,’’ the PSL said in a statement.
“This has been necessitated by the non-appearance of match officials at all match venues today.
“However, some of the match officials had travelled from various parts of the country and had logged in for team inspections only to withdraw their services before commencement of team warm-ups.
“The PSL is concerned about the lack of communication from the ZIFA Referees Committee, as we tried to engage them on the matter, to no avail.
“We, however, hope that a solution will be reached soon. We will update on any further developments.’’ Malandule said he could not comment following the suspension. Earlier on, addressing the media, Mlotshwa said the suspension of the ZIFA board did not mean that football comes had been suspended in the country.
“The suspension of the ZIFA board doesn’t mean that football comes to an abrupt end in the country,’’ he said.
“And, maybe, this is some of the structural problems that football had in this country, this assumption that the moment there is no board, everything must stop.
“No, it shouldn’t be like that and that’s certainly not the intention either.’’
SRC board member, Nigel Munyati, shared the same sentiments as he said football was bigger than ZIFA.
“Football is not going to suffer, football is going to continue because football is bigger than ZIFA.
“What this nation needs in terms of football is to continue playing.”
Responding to a question from the media on the issue of referees before the boycott, Munyati noted that the move to suspend the ZIFA board would be for the good of the game, in the long run.
“There will be a minor distraction but I would like to believe that there is sufficient capacity within us, and other interested stakeholders in football like sponsors themselves,’’ he said.
“We know we have to resolve (these things) over the next few days.’’
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