FORMER Zifa president Leo Mugabe has called on the current boss at the local football governing body Philip Chiyangwa to step down as the chairman of the Zifa Referees Committee in the wake of his embarrassing gaffe, which his critics argue has brought the local game into disrepute.
BY DANIEL NHAKANISO
Mugabe’s comments come in the wake of Chiyangwa’s farcical decision to rescind Dynamos striker Christian Ntouba Epoupa’s red card thickens.
And Mugabe, a former Caf executive committee member— who served as Zifa president between 1994 and 2002 — weighed in, saying Chiyangwa should just swallow his pride and do the honourable thing to avoid further embarrassment.
“It’s not ideal at all to have the Zifa president chairing the Referees Committee because it [the committee] makes decisions, which can be appealed and the appeal process is such that the matter will end up with the Zifa board,” Mugabe told Sports World in an interview on Friday.
“There is clear conflict of interest because, as the president, you would want a situation where due process is followed and if it’s you who is not following due process, who is overseeing who?” Mugabe quipped.
“In any case, this game was not a Zifa game, it was a PSL match played under its rules and regulations and the person that I find out of sight is the person who took that compliant to the Zifa board.”
Chiyangwa, who has no prior experience in football officiating, last year appointed himself chairman of the Zifa Referees Committee, which also includes Gladmore Muzambi (vice-chairperson), Kainos Mavhuna, Japhet Mufiri, Thabani Mkanjo, Musa Ntonga.
Mugabe said Chiyangwa should consult individuals with experience in football administration before making unilateral decisions to avoid further embarrassment.
“I think they need to seek advice from those that know the game of football. They might not have the same money as they have but there are people out here who have a lot of experience insofar as soccer is concerned. You cannot equal it [experience] to anything else,” he said.
“I ran Zifa for 10 years and of those 10, I had four years as a CAF executive committee member and the referees committee at CAF level was chaired by an executive committee member but at the end of the day, we had an appeals regime where the CAF’s executive committee was not involved to avoid similar scenarios like what is happening.”
The veteran football administrator, also took a dig at the Dynamos leadership, which he said had brought the game of football into disrepute by deliberately registering their complaint to the Zifa boss instead of PSL.
The Harare giants, in blatant violation of PSL regulations, purport to have written a letter to Zifa protesting the decision by Masvingo referee Arnold Ncube to eject Epoupa after he head-butted Highlanders defender Peter Muduhwa.
“They were supposed to take their complaint to the PSL. So in actual fact, whoever wrote that complaint is guilty of bringing the game of football into disrepute in the first place. It’s clear they wanted to take advantage of the Zifa president’s lack of understanding of football rules and regulations,” he said.