THE ZIFA Referees Committee have lived up to their pledge to develop more match officials and will this weekend take their programmes to Harare and Bulawayo where they will train members from the Northern and Southern zones of the country.
ZRC vice chairman Gladmore Muzambi said they were looking to build depth within their structures where there has been a dearth of young referees.
Muzambi will also be one of the instructors at the courses which are expected to attract budding referees from various provinces that surround Harare and Bulawayo. The veteran referees’ administrator and match commissioner said the match officials would also play some mini games to enhance their understanding of some match situations that would confront them.
“We are having promotional exams for class 2 referees to class 1 and class three referees to class 2. This exercise is targeting young referees below 25 years of age, both male and female and we will have 10 per province converging at two centres, Harare and Bulawayo on Saturday 13 October.
“We will have two centres and in Harare, the instructors will be Alfred Zindove, Masakadza Makonese and myself. In Bulawayo, Sabelo Maphosa, John Mutero and Phila Khabo will preside over the exercise.
“These will conduct the technical, physical and theory tests. The technical tests include short duration games for five minutes per set of referees to gauge their ability to read the modern game situations.
“The theory tests include laws of the game, handball tests and offside situations. Then they will be tested for fitness using the FIFA fitness testing model.
“All categories of tests will be quite rigorous and meant to select the best and young referees,’’ Muzambi said.
In widening their base of match officials, the ZRC also seem to have fulfilled one of the major wishes of their chairman and ZIFA president Philip Chiyangwa, who has called for more courses for the referees in the lower leagues around the provinces and area zones. Chiyangwa, who was addressing top local referees at a FIFA Elite Course in Harare, also assured them of ZIFA and his personal support for their welfare, but warned them against corruption and match-fixing.
“Football is a gateway to a lot of things, you have seen it with many African players who have gone on to play and earn big money in Europe. You, too, can grow your profiles and find your way into such institutions like FIFA, CAF and COSAFA. I want to say that Felix (Tangawarima) and myself are the faces of Zimbabwean football to the world, but we should empower more people to get into these different bodies.
“I am happy with the numbers, (of participants), but I would want to see the training cascading down to the lower leagues so that we can increase the production,” Chiyangwa said.
That journey to widen the referees’ production line continues today in Harare and Bulawayo.