Fungayi Munyoro Sports Correspondent
UGLY scenes were witnessed at Chiwere School in Odzi on Sunday in a ZIFA Mutare Division 2 match between Chiwere FC and Knowstics when Chiwere players and supporters attacked assistant referee Tambudzai Bwanya and caused the match to be abandoned after 70 minutes of play.
It all started when one player from Chiwere was hauled down in the second half. One of the supporters went onto the field of play and attacked Knowstics players who went off the field of play for security reasons. The Chiwere supporters and players forced the referee to continue with the match. They also accused the match officials for failing to handle the game properly. Chiwere supporters demanded back the match officials’ fees before invading the pitch and attacking the match officials.
ZIFA Mutare Division 2 administrator Kundai Makwarise confirmed the incident. “We received the referees’ reports where Tambudzai Bwanya and centre ref Peter Chikwariro were attacked by players and supporters. We heard that one player from Knowstics mistakenly kicked a player from Chiwere and that was the cause of the violence. Supporters and players from Chiwere invaded the pitch.
“According to Chikwariro’s report, he indicated that the supporters demanded back the referee’s fees from them. Bwanya escaped and sought refuge from a nearby home. They pursued and demanded her to return the money. The match officials were left stranded without transport money. They were later given some transport money by well wishers.
“As ZIFA, we will take measures as soon as we get match reports from the clubs involved,” added Makwarise. Manicaland Referees Committee Eastern Region Technical Instructor Phibeon Ngorima condemned the violence urging clubs and supporters to keep abreast of the FIFA laws changes.
“It is so disturbing to see match officials being subjected to such abuse. “From my personal point of view as a referees instructor, I assume certain spectators and clubs have little knowledge of the laws of the game especially in the rural areas because there are annual amendments to the laws of the game and this may cause spectators to feel that they have been cheated by the referee on certain decisions without knowing the amendments made.
“There is need for clubs and spectators to visit the internet to keep abreast of the FIFA laws, changes and amendments in order to avoid abusing referees,” he said.