Ncube: Coach, ref­eree in one

Sunday News (Zimbabwe) - - Front Page -

A CHIP of the old block and school that em­pha­sised that foot­ball in­volve­ment was ser­vice to the com­mu­nity and game, giv­ing tak­ing bribes in foot­ball the mid­dle fin­ger is the legacy Isaac Gwa­bani Ncube left.

He may not have risen to a Fifa Class ref­eree but many will re­mem­ber him for run­ning the lines or be­ing in the cen­tre dur­ing the 1970s to early 1990s in the South­ern Re­gion.

He is the man cred­ited with start­ing the first ever recog­nised High­landers FC Un­der-14s, a crop that went on to have no­ta­bles like Ge­orge Moyo, Mpilo Mafu, Jab­u­lani Mbambo, Ge­orge Nkomo and the leg­endary Peter “Cap­tain Oxo” Nkomo.

Sun­day Life on Fri­day traced Ncube to his River Val­ley Prop­er­ties of­fices in the city where he bared his heart about his life and the game. He spoke pas­sion­ately about his past and the game’s his­tory and path in the last 50 years but could not be drawn into the state of it nowa­days.

Ncube said ref­er­ees have a duty to ac­knowl­edge wrong when they mess up the game. He said that helps both fans and play­ers ap­pre­ci­ate the rules of the game bet­ter as stick­ing to wrong only fu­els ill-feel­ing to­wards each other.

Go­ing down mem­ory, Ncube said in the late 1980s he of­fi­ci­ated a match pit­ting Pa­trick Changunda’s Pu­mula City Crack­ers and Tsha­bal­ala War­riors at Sizinda. He stunned the ref­er­ee­ing com­mu­nity when in his post­match re­port he made men­tion that he was to blame for the game flow­ing to the jun­gle.

“They (ref­er­ees) were stunned with my re­port. I took re­spon­si­bil­ity for what tran­spired in that game. The match gen­er­ated into some­thing else and the sit­u­a­tion got so heated up that play could not go on. I re­alised that at the end I should have sent some play­ers for an early shower and awarded two penal­ties. If I had done that the game would have pro­ceeded smoothly, I was to blame for that as the man in the cen­tre and du­ti­fully I had to take re­spon­si­bil­ity,” said Ncube.

He called upon ref­er­ees to be hon­est and con­sis­tently ap­ply the rules of the game with­out fear or favour as teams are like one’s set of twins. Both need nur­tur­ing and love of equal mea­sure. He said once ref­er­ees ac­knowl­edge that they at times do wrong then they would be clo­sure to some ten­sions that em­anate from some matches where the match of­fi­cials would have de­cided a re­sult and some­one’s job with a wrong call through hu­man er­ror or out­right mis­chief.

Ncube con­ceded that ref­er­ees get of­fers to de­liver a re­sult. He said those with­out the pas­sion for the game as has be­come the sce­nario in the game in Zim­babwe nowa­days, they opt for money be­cause in the first in­stance they are not in the game for its own good but for their pock­ets. He re­calls a match in the early 1980s in Gweru where a de­feat to ei­ther Gweru United or Bata Power would have meant ei­ther of the two go­ing down to Di­vi­sion One.

Ncube and his col­leagues were ap­proached by a man pur­port­ing to be a Bata Power of­fi­cial.

“He came to the dress­ing room and asked to speak to the ref­eree. I said I was the man in charge. I must have had Faroah Jele and an­other man who was a po­lice of­fi­cer as my as­sis­tants (lines­men). Af­ter speak­ing to the guy who had said

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