Referees undergo fitness test
ELITE match officials, who handle Premier Soccer League matches, will this morning undergo a physical fitness test in an exercise that will also be used by the Zifa Referees Committee to determine which of their members will represent the country on the 2017 Fifa panel.
The fitness examination formerly known as the “Cooper Test” will be conducted at the National Sports Stadium and is for centre referees and the assistants for both male and female officials.
Zifa Referees Committee vice-chairman Gladmore Muzambi will be among the officials who will preside over the tests.
Muzambi yesterday said any of the officials who will fail the test this morning would be immediately suspended from handling any of the top-flight games.
The committee is looking at testing 48 referees and the exercise is an annual Fifa approved test which ascertains physical abilities of match officials.
It is highly regarded as it seeks to establish the physically fit match officials in the country and the test has over the years been characterised by surprises with some top referees failing it and having to travel to such countries like Zambia or Botswana to try and seek an opportunity for a re-test.
Muzambi said the referees would undergo a medical examination in which they first have to satisfy before they are deemed eligible to participate in the fitness test. The former Fifa and Caf panel referee said his committee would after the physical test meet to draw a 17-member list of referees and assistants which they would recommend to the world soccer governing body.
“This test will certify referees fit to be selected for the Fifa panel for 2017. After the physical test the committee is going to sit on Wednesday and select the referees to be recommended to Fifa before the due date, October 2.
“Zimbabwe has 17 available slots for both male and female referees to handle international assignments. We’ll look at the fitness test and combine it with the referees’ progress report for the whole year as well as the medical report to come up with the referees that’ll handle Fifa assignments next year,” said Muzambi.
Currently, on the trio of centre referees — Norman Matemera, Philani Ncube and Nomore Musundire are on the Fifa panel while there are also six assistants.
But just having three centre referees is a far cry from the days when the country used to have at last seven in each category.
The physical fitness which is standard for all Fifa referees is made up of two tests that is the repeated sprint ability which measures the referees ability to perform repeated sprints over 40 metres.
The referees will also go through the interval test, which is a longer version and rates the referee’s capacity to perform a chain of high-speed runs over 75 metres with 25 metres walking intervals in the end covering a total of 4 000 metres.
Muzambi said should any referees fail the fitness test today they will not be allowed to continue officiating in the local games until they have passed.
“At this stage of the season we don’t expect referees to fail, they should be at their peak. If a referee fails this test they’ll not officiate in the local games until they pass another test for them which can only be organised after a recovery period of six weeks,” said Muzambi.
Apart from Matemera, Ncube and Musundire, the list of referees to be tested today includes Ruzive Ruzive, Tapfumaneyi Mutengwa, Pedzisai Chadya, Salani Sibanda and Bongani Gadzikwa.
Regular faces Kuda Majo, Stella Ruvinga, and Saneliso Sibanda will headline the women’s list that also has Faith Mloyi, Thanks Nyahuye and Claris Simango.
A total of 64 athletes, among them 21 Zimbabweans, took part in the main event.
In the half-marathon, the Zimbabwean duo of Wellington Varevi and Tawapo Bhiri won the men and women’s races respectively.
South Africa’s Bethel Netshifhefhe and Thomas Ngobeni dominated the male category in the Veterans and Masters races while their compatriot, Hilda Mdokomme, topped the female Masters’ category.
Zimbabwe’s Agness Masvosve won the women’s 21,1km Veteran’s race.
The top three in the half-marathon pocketed R3 000, R2 000 and R1 000 while those who took part in the 10km race received R1 000, R750 and R500 respectively.
South African athletes dominated all the categories in the 10km race.