Appoint refs on merit: Mukuna
RESPECTED former Fifa panel referee Wilfred Mukuna has blamed favouritism in the appointment of referees for the continued disregard of Zimbabwean officials for major international tournaments.
He said poorly trained referees were seconded to the Fifa panel because of their relationship with top football bosses, while those with the necessary skill and pedigree were sidelined.
Mukuna made these remarks while addressing a sports writers’ workshop organised by the Premier Soccer League held at a Harare hotel from Wednesday to Friday last week.
The former no-nonsense referee said there was a need for officials to use merit when seconding referees to the Fifa panel and making appointments for local games.
“Let’s use merit, not favouritism when appointing a referee. Some of the referees we have could have been up there if they had been given an opportunity, but because they were never given a chance by those in charge, their talent never blossomed,” said Mukuna.
He said the country must take advantage of people like Felix Tangawarima, who rates among the best referees the African continent has ever produced.
Tangawarima is a top Fifa referees’ instructor and Mukuna feels the nation is not making full use of him.
“If he can produce top notch referees from other countries that go on to handle big matches or officiate at the highest levels, why can’t we make full use of such expertise as Zimbabwe. During our time, we did not have such high quality equipment that referees today have at their disposal, but I feel we did far better than some of these guys,” Mukuna said.
He also challenged members of the media to support referees by also focusing on their positives instead of always highlighting the negatives.
“It’s entirely up to you to build or break our nation. We must also look at the positives that our referees do and that way we can build them as their confidence levels will rise. In the same vein though, let us not look aside if things are bad because we can be embarrassed as a nation if we do that since a poor game at international level by a Zimbabwean referee paints a bad picture of the country,” he said. — @ skhumoyo2000
Zimbabwe players celebrate a wicket in this file picture