Ap­point refs on merit: Mukuna

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Sport - Sikhum­buzo Moyo Se­nior Sports Reporter

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

Wil­fred Mukuna

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