Ray Bande : Senior Sports Reporter
|TWO match officials were suspended form handling matches after incessant complaints of biased refereeing from different clubs as the race for the sole Premiership promotional playoffs ticket slowly glide towards climax in the Eastern Region Division One.|
The two – Bester Ngodzo and Mathias Afiki all of Chiredzi – were suspended after several clubs in the league that include Tenax, Mutoko, Renco Mine, Africa Trust and Buffaloes lodged complaints against them.
Biased match officiating is once again rearing its ugly head, with accusations that some referees are manipulating results as they fight for the cause of a particular club to gain Premiership promotion.
Zifa Eastern Region secretary, Simba Wisdom, confirmed that the league had recommended for the suspension of the two referees from handling league matches in the region.
“Yes, we have two referees that we have recommended to the Zimbabwe Referees’ Committee that they should not handle league matches until further notice.
“As a league, we do not have the powers to suspend referees, but we can only make recommendations to the Zimbabwe Referees’ Committee and we have no doubt that they also respect our view. We did that through the Zimbabwe Referees’ Committee’s Zifa coordinator for the Eastern Region, Cainos Mavhuna,” said Wisdom.
Interestingly, the Harare-based Prophetic Healing and Deliverance (PHD) backed Yadah FC, a surprise inclusion in the Eastern Region Division One, have had match officials that handled their matches being assaulted after accusations of influencing results in their favour.
Match officials who handled the match pitting Yadah and Mutoko were manhandled after they allegedly helped the PHD-bankrolled team collect maximum points, thanks to a highly questionable 2-1 triumph.
Yadah were once again at the centre of a biased match officiating storm after match officials who handled their match against Masvingo City Dortmund were manhandled for allegedly ensuring Yadah wins by a solitary goal.
Mavhuna recently told this newspaper that there had received complaints by opponents in matches involving Yadah.
“Yes, I agree. There have been complaints in matches that involved Yadah. I have heard complaints emanating from their matches against Mutoko and Masvingo City,” said Mavhuna.
The fight for the Premiership promotional playoffs ticket is about to reach its climax with 13 rounds of league matches remaining before the curtain comes down on the 2016 season.
At MatchDay 17, it promises to be a gruelling race for the title, with Mutare army outfit Buffaloes and Yadah FC being tied on 40 points at the helm of the league log table.
Meanwhile, Chibi and Calvary are no longer part of the Eastern Region Division One League after the two succumbed to prohibitive costs of running a second tier league football club.
That means all the other teams that were set to play against the two teams in the remaining fixtures will get three points and three goals on a walkover basis, thereby leaving the league with only 14 actively participating clubs.
Africa Trust 0, Prime Rangers 0; Gutu FC 2, Melfort 1; Yadah FC 5, Mwenezana 2; Black Eagles 0, Renco Mine 1; Buffaloes 3, Masvingo City 0; Chibi 0, FC Mutoko 3 (w/o); Mupanadawana 1, Tanex 1; Surrey 3, Calvary 0 (w/o):
Prime Rangers v Surrey; Tenax v Africa Trust; FC Mutoko v Mupandawana; Masvingo City Dortmund v FC Chibi (w/o); Renco Mine v Buffaloes; Mwenezana v Black Eagles; Melfort v Yadah FC; Calvary v Gutu (w/o).