THE Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa) yesterday made a shocking call to rescind Dynamos striker Christian Ntouba’s red card, which he was shown following a headbutt on Highlanders defender Peter Muduhwa in Sunday’s feisty Castle Lager Premier Soccer League (PSL) match at Rufaro Stadium.
BY HENRY MHARA
A straight red card was shown on the Cameroonian in the 87th minute by inconsistent referee Arnold Ncube for the violent offence in an off-the-ball incident following some pushing and shoving in the penalty box.
Both the decision to reverse the referee’s decision and the haste in which the case was dealt with came as a shock to football fans.
Zifa refused to explain how they reached the decision, but television replays and pictures clearly show Ntouba planting his forehead into Muduhwa’s face.
Zifa yesterday, in a statement, announced that they had rescinded the red card, making Ntouba available for the Sunday match.
“The Zimbabwe Football Association referees’ committee has rescinded the 87th minute sending-off of Christian Epoupa Ntouba during the Castle Lager Premier Soccer League match between Dynamos and Highlanders at Rufaro Stadium on September 10, 2017.
Zifa president and referees’ committee chairperson Dr Phillip Chiyangwa announced the decision following extensive deliberations with members of the referees’ committee and several important football stakeholders. We will not issue any further statement at this stage.”
DeMbare appealed the decision as well as complaining about the referee’s performance while advocating the banning of Muduhwa, whom they argued was equally violent, in the morning and by afternoon the committee, chaired by Chiyangwa, had already sat, deliberated and came up with a decision.
Ntouba appeared to be frustrated by the reluctance by Ncube, who had a very poor game, to punish the Highlanders defenders who targeted him and took turns to foul him, mostly off the ball.
The Cameroonian would have missed Dynamos’ next two matches including the Harare derby against Caps United on Sunday.
Club president Keni Mubaiwa said they wrote to the PSL asking for the league to review Ncube’s performance, which resulted in their player being sent off.
“As a club, we felt that our player was given a raw deal and I must say justice has been served,” Mubaiwa said.
“Everyone who was at the stadium or watched the match on television would admit that Ntouba was kicked and slapped several times and the referee failed to protect him. It appears they had targeted him and took turns to attack him. So we wrote to the PSL to review the performance of the referee, the red card and the conduct of some of the Highlanders players. The referee was not fair on us. We would have wanted the referee to be suspended and for some of the Highlanders players to be banned for their conduct on the day because it defeats the whole purpose of fair play.”