By Nigel Matongorere
Zifa president Philip Chiyangwa says he stands by the decision made by the referees’ committee which he chairs to rescind the red card given to Dynamos forward Christian Ntouba on Sunday.
Ntouba was shown his marching orders by referee Arnold Ncube for head-butting Bosso defender Peter Mudhuwa during Sunday’s match at Rufaro Stadium.
But barely 24 hours after the match, the referees’ committee announced that they had nullified the Cameroonian’s red card which makes him available for Sunday’s Harare derby against CAPS United.
However, the decision has not gone down well with many football followers, who are now accusing Chiyangwa of blatantly disregarding football rules in order to aid DeMbare, who are in a title race with Chicken Inn, FC Platinum and Ngezi platinum Stars.
“Leadership is about overcoming fear. Fearless people are true leaders. If you can’t make a decision then you cannot lead,” Chiyangwa told the Daily News yesterday as the saga continued to rage on.
“I had seen for myself that the referee had failed to handle the match and I called my committee for a meeting the following morning.
“We discussed about the red card which was a result of provocation by the Highlanders player. The next step we are taking is dealing with the referee and his assistants.
“We are still reviewing the video to bring closure to the matter and we are still going to go after the Highlanders player who slapped and provoked Ntouba.”
Chiyangwa also spoke about the hastiness of his committee’s decision when in some other leagues it takes up to three or four days before charges or nullifications of bookings can be announced.
“I was going to summon the referee but while I was still thinking about it that’s when I got a letter from Dynamos on the night after the match,” he said.
“The fact of the matter is that you actually receive reports to have an idea of what transpired but I was present at this match.
“No report can tell me more than what I saw with my own eyes. There was total chaos from the onset; the match official and his assistants did not handle that match very well; the sanctions are following them because of that.
“We have to take disciplinary action on these people with immediate action. When you are in charge of a match, you must be in total control.
“When you are a general of an army; your troops must toil the line; that’s what a referee is supposed to do.
“The game is in your hands and if you fumble like what happened where Ntouba was beaten up and fell down then Lloyd Mutasa nearly entered the fray; there was chaos and pandemonium on the fringes of the pitch.
“The referee never did anything; that’s when the real problem started and throughout the match there was chaos.”
The Zifa boss said they acted on the red card after DeMbare had written a letter of protest seen by the Daily News.
Although Ncube made several other questionable decisions against Highlanders, the referees’ committee did not make any pronouncements on these incidents.
The committee has now been accused of double standards but Chiyangwa does not agree.
“Highlanders have a tendency that when they complain about refereeing decisions it’s the fans that go haywire but this doesn’t come from the club.
“I receive numerous text messages from Highlanders fans complaining but not a single letter for the club leadership.
“Some clubs are very pragmatic. This letter came to me on Sunday evening. Dynamos made sure they had delivered their protest letter to me that same night after the match.
“The Highlanders supporters instead of just making noise they should have asked their leadership to write to me appealing the referee’s deisions.
“Morden Ngwenya (Highlanders acting-chairperson) was here in Harare and he was live on television on Monday night but they never appealed against the decisions made by the referee.
“We acted on the Ntouba red card because we had received a letter of complaint that very night from Dynamos.”
The Harare businessman, who has an interest in property development, denied allegations that he is biased towards DeMbare hence the decision to nullify Ntouba’s card.
“People should not place me in a Dynamos camp; don’t forget that the person who was my campaign manager to become Zifa president is that CAPS president (Farai Jere),” he said.
“There is no way I can favour Dynamos or any other team.”
Chiyangwa however, admitted that there is a serious problem with the standard of refereeing in the domestic game.
“I expect proper decorum of refereeing not the nonsense that I saw on Sunday. I’m sick and tired of these referees making stupid decisions,” he said.
“Some of the referees we have out there are very bad. I have confronted some of them after I have seen their dubious decisions.
“I’ve told them that I will involve the police at some stage because when you see some of the decisions they make, it looks like they have been bribed.”
Chiyangwa added: “What I’m trying to say is that as a referee you need to be firm and your decisions must be consistent from the onset to the end.
“As long as that is the case, you find that the players will not become loose cannons and even the supporters will behave.
“In the case of Dynamos-Highlanders, the referee allowed the match to get into a shambolic state where the play was not even satisfactory but very disappointing.” Daily News