Zifa Eastern Region chairman Piraishe Mabhena has vowed to leave no stone unturned in his quest to deal with cases of poor officiating and hooliganism that have blighted lower league football.
By Nyambira Chivasa
Presenting his report at the just-ended Zifa Eastern Region annual general meeting in Marondera, Mabhena said the board would not hesitate to kick out from the league those who did not comply with football regulations.
“Violence has no place in football. It is sad to note that some unruly elements tried to tarnish the image of our league last season. As a board, we will not stand and watch but we will deal ruthlessly with perpetrators,” Mabhena said.
He added: “We will not hesitate to kick you out of our league if you do not comply with our regulations. To that effect, we urge all teams to ensure safety of all football stakeholders in our stadiums, failure of which the board will take necessary action.”
Mabhena took a swipe on poor officiating and castigated teams that had the tendency of bribing match officials.
“In the past season we received a few reports of poor officiating in some areas and as a board we engaged the referees committee to pay attention to those problem areas and these were resolved. We shall continue to monitor this area and ensure the game of football is played fairly.”
Last season violence erupted in Mutare during the game between Dongo Sawmills FC and Masvingo United resulting in the match being abandoned after 78 minutes of play.
This was after Una-Una fans and players accused the referee of poor officiating after which fans invaded the pitch in protest.
Both teams were punished with Dongo FC fined $200 for failing to bring adequate security to the ground, while Masvingo United paid $500 for bringing the game of football into disrepute.
He also reiterated that no team would be allowed to compete without full payment of affiliation fees.
“It is also unfortunate that some of our teams failed to fully pay up their affiliation fees for the just-ended season. The normal practice is that you do not compete until you are paid up. However, because of economic hardships, we asked the teams to make payment plans and continue playing. These were not fully honoured and for the purpose of credibility we allowed the competition to run to an end,” he said.
“Going forward, no team will be allowed to compete without full payment of affiliation fees. Those who owe from last season must pay up before they can compete in 2015,” he said.