Ex-soccer stars slam Zifa red card decision

Sports Reporters
THE decision by the Philip Chiyangwa-led referees’ committee to rescind Dynamos striker Christian Epoupa Ntouba’s red card in a match against Highlanders has been received with utmost contempt by local former soccer stars.

Former Buffaloes goalkeeper Simba Manzungu feels referee Arnold Ncube did the right thing by sending off the Cameroonian star.

“The referee did well by sending him off though some of his decisions left a lot to be desired. Most of his decisions left us confused. I think for Christian to behave in such a manner, he had been frustrated by the way he was treated on the field of play.

“The referee did little to protect him. The duty of the referee is to protect the players on the field of play but he ignored all the frustrations that the Cameroonian went through.

“As a referee, he had to balance and consider all players as one. I think his reaction was a result of the frustrations. He only missed it on head-butting the Bosso player. That is not acceptable on the field of play.

Eddie Dube (left) and Blessing Gumiso

“The PSL as the custodians of the game is very correct. It was right to decide that the DeMbare player remains suspended. The ZIFA president failed to handle the case. He just used his power for the wrong reasons,” he said.

Mutare-born former Highlanders midfielder Blessing Gumiso had this to say: “It is very controversial but his punishment should stand. I think he deliberately head-butted Muduhwa.”

Former Highlanders and Black Rhinos top man Eddie Dube, who is closely following his former team’s performance in the ongoing 2017 Castle Lager Premiership season, had no kind words for the Chiyangwa administration.

“I think this is unheard of. How can a football association president rescind a correct decision made by the referee? We all know that violence has no place in football and the way that Christian Epoupa Ntouba reacted is not acceptable in the game, hence the red card. Chiyangwa had no business rescinding that red card. He actually exposed his ignorance on the laws of the game,” said Dube.

Former Dynamos defence lynchpin Lovemore “Thula” Maphuya said Dynamos do not need anyone’s help to win the league championship.

“I think the Zifa leadership was wrong. In fact, it was not only unfair to other teams but to Dynamos as well. Dynamos do not need anyone’s help to win the league championship. They have a good squad and they are playing good football.

“That wrong decision by the Zifa leadership has repercussions as far as Dynamos’ reputation is concerned. I feel it was actually unfair for the Glamour Boys as much as it was unfair for other teams,” said Mapuya.

Former national team player Lazarus “Mali” Muhoni weighed in the debate criticising the Zifa leadership for failing to adhere to the laws of the game.

“This is utter nonsense. That red card was genuine and for Zifa to rescind it we do not know what law they are implementing. The sad thing is that they just rescinded it without giving an explanation. I think that is taking people for granted,” said Muhoni.

However, Zifa Manicaland chairman Kuziwa Nyabeze said there was nothing amiss about appealing a red card given to the player.

“I cannot say the decision was right or wrong. I am not so sure if Dynamos appealed or not. What I can say is that it is lawful to appeal over a red card given to any player as a club.

“We can talk of Arsenal’s 2015 incident where they won their case. They appealed against a red card given to Gabriel Paulista after he clashed with Chelsea’s Diego Costa. He did not serve the three- match ban but it was a different case altogether for Liverpool who lost Sadio Mane’s case.

“The referee’s decision is final; we cannot dispute the red card. He saw Christian head-butting the Highlanders player and giving him a red card was the correct thing to do.

All I am saying is, it is very possible to appeal over the red card. The card cannot be reversed but the punishment can be reversed,” he said.