Ref had right to end match
THERE was mayhem at the end of the Castle Lager Premier Soccer League match between Highlanders and Chicken Inn at Barbourfields Stadium yesterday when referee Nkosikhona Moyo blew for fulltime just as the Gamecocks scored what could have been the winning goal.
Lewis Kutinyu found himself unmarked inside the box deep into the two minutes of the referee’s optional time and Highlanders players stood akimbo expecting an offside call. First assistant referee Salani Ncube rightfully did not flag an offside, but Moyo blew to end the match when Kutinyu beat Bosso goalkeeper Ariel Sibanda.
Chicken Inn thought he was indicating a goal, but there was dead silence in the stadium when he did not point to the centre circle. As Ncube made his way onto the pitch to join other match officials, Bosso players surrounded him protesting that he should have flagged Kutinyu for offside.
At the same time, Chicken Inn players mobbed the referee protesting the manner in which he had ended the match.
Pandemonium then broke out, as missiles were thrown onto the pitch, while officials and players from both teams were involved in some pushing and shoving.
Chicken Inn gaffer Rahman Gumbo was fuming, as he felt his charges were robbed of maximum points by the referee.
“If a match official can decide the result like this, then it becomes questionable. To be honest, I think the referee did Highlanders a huge favour; a fourth defeat on the trot would have been embarrassing for them, but they must do their own work and not wait to be assisted,” said Gumbo in a post match interview.
As expected of a derby, the match kicked off with both sides teasing each other with no real goalmouth action until the 19th minute when Highlanders embarked on a nice exchange of passes, with dribbling wizard King Nadolo heavily involved from the start only to be yellow carded for simulation inside the box under the challenge of Lawrence Mhlanga.
In the 26th minute, Passmore Bernard’s shot for Chicken Inn from the arc was deflected for a corner, which was wasted.
The Gamecocks kept pressing in search of an opener and it duly came in the 33rd minute through the head of Mhlanga, who rose above the rest to meet a George Majika cross.
He earned himself a yellow card when he jumped over the perimeter fence celebrating his goal.
Highlanders began the second half the better side and their resilience paid off when Simon Munawa brought them back on level terms.
A seemingly harmless cross from the left by Honest Moyo eluded a cluster of Chicken Inn defenders, with Devine Lunga the last to miss and Munawa ghosted in from the blind side to hit the roof of the net.
The goal awakened Bosso and Allan Gahadzikwa broke loose on the right side, sent in a cross that Nadolo dummied for Munawa, who cleverly laid the ball to Rahman Kutsanzira. Kutsanzira was a shade too slow, but still managed to send in a curler that agonisingly went over the bar.
“I think our performance was okay but the failure to score is what worries me,” said Bosso coach Erol Akbay.
Gumbo felt the match was evenly balanced, although the result should have been different. @skhumoyo2000 CHIEF referees’ instructor Gladmore Muzambi says a referee can end a match regardless of where the ball is.
His remarks yesterday came following skirmishes between Highlanders and Chicken Inn players and officials after referee Nkosikhona Moyo blew to end the match, just as Highlanders’ goalkeeper Aerial Sibanda was being beaten. Chicken Inn thought they had won the match 2-1 right at the death.
“I was not at the stadium, but if that is what happened, then technically the referee was right. If it’s time up, it’s time up, it doesn’t matter where the ball is at that time. The only time when play can be allowed to continue is for the purposes of taking a penalty, but again even then, when the goalkeeper punches the ball back into play, the match ends, there is no rebound,” said Muzambi.
He said many people tend to put emotions into such decisions.
“The act is usually not so palatable, but that is the law. If it’s time up, it’s time up,” he said.
Chicken Inn players march in protest after referee Nkosikhona Moyo blew to end the match as Tafadzwa Kutinyu scored what could have been the winning goal against Highlanders at Barbourfields Stadium yesterday