By Petros Kausiyo
It keeps getting better for Norman Matemera with the referee once again being handed a tough task by CAF to take charge of the Confederation Cup tie between Nigeria’s Enyimba and Williamsville of Cote d’Ivoire.
Former African champions Enyimba will be at home in the Group C clash at the UJ Esuene Stadium in Port Harcourt tomorrow.
For his latest international assignment, Matemera will have Brighton Nyika as his first assistant, Salani Ncube (second assistant) and Pilani Ncube, the fourth official.
It is the same crew that Matemera had when he showed his commitment to shunning corruption by turning down a $10 000 bribery attempt to fix a game in April and immediately reporting the case to his superiors at CAF.
CAF then wrote to Matemera saluting the Harare policeman for upholding the principles of Fair Play and integrity in the game.
The continental body’s letter to Matemera was written by Anthony Baffoe, the CAF Deputy Secretary-General for Football and Development.
“We would like to take this opportunity to appreciate your excellent attitude and honesty shown during the incident that took place on the occasion of the match Desportivo (Equatorial Guinea) and Williamsville Athletic Club (Cote d’Ivoire).
“With your significant contribution, we are changing the mind sets to ensure Fair Play.
“Your devotion towards work is inspiring other referees which mitigates the reluctance in work and strengthen the motivation among your colleagues. We are pleased to have you on our team. You deserve high praise for the way you handled the matter.
“Thank you for giving CAF your best. May you enjoy all the success in your entire endeavours,” wrote Baffoe.
As the Champions League and the Confederation Cup matches, which had given way to the World Cup in the last month resume across the continent, CAF have once again rewarded Matemera for his integrity with a task to handle a West African derby.
Interestingly, Williamsville who eventually beat Desportivo in that play-off tie, are a factor again in the assignment that CAF have tasked Matemera with.
The Ivorians lead Group C with four points from two matches while a 3-0 defeat of Enyimba by Congolese outfit CARA Brazzaville meant the Nigerians slumped into third place with three points from as many matches.
Matemera, speaking from Port Harcourt, said he was humbled by the faith that CAF had invested in him.
“I just want to thank CAF for the continued trust and belief in Zimbabwean referees.
“Furthermore, I want to thank ZRP, especially the Commissioner-General (Godwin Matanga) for allowing me the opportunity to participate in non-police games.
“I also want to thank our local referees’ instructors and fellow referees . . . their support pushes us to the stars,” Matemera said.
ZIFA Referees Committee vice-chairman Gladmore Muzambi said he was also hopeful that the Zimbabwean crew would acquit themselves well.
“I am sure it (the appointment) is a continued recognition of their stance against match-fixing and match manipulation and we will hope they will serve both CAF and the country well.
“His performance should be a measure of the improving standards of our referees and surely we should be afforded another slot,” Muzambi said.
Muzambi also said the local match officials had during the Premiership mid-season break undergone a refresher course during which they were apprised of the amendments that FIFA have made to the laws to the game.
“These referees and other locals are coming from a refresher course which touched on various topics, including that of understanding football and the topical issue of handball . . . what constitutes a handball,” Muzambi said.
“We are also very happy that the two rounds of games since the resumption of the league programme have gone on smoothly and we hope our officials will maintain that,” Muzambi said.