THE Confederation of African Football (Caf) has insisted that Cameroon referees should handle the rescheduled first leg African Nations Championship (Chan) qualifier between Zimbabwe and Zambia at Rufaro Stadium in Harare on Sunday.
The continental soccer mother body had appointed Cameroon referee Aurelien Juenkou and his assistants Fuanta Joseph Lambi, Elvis Noupué and Christopher Nde to officiate the Chan qualifier between Zimbabwe and Zambia that had been scheduled for last Sunday, but the three failed to show up after missing their flight in Kenya.
They were scheduled to arrive on Saturday at 10am, but later advised that they had missed the flight from Nairobi to Harare — a development which forced the postponement of the match following consultations between South African match commissioner Ian McLeod, Zifa and Zambia.
McLeod was then forced to eventually call off the match after alternative efforts to get replacement referees failed to yield results. After the cancellation of the match, Zambia — who had arrived in the country on Friday — left for France for an international friendly match with Senegal set for today.
However, Caf have written back to Zifa insisting that the Cameroon referees remain in charge for the match on Sunday at Rufaro. This is despite Zifa initially raising concern over the logic behind appointing referees from as far as West Africa for assignments in this region, arguing such an appointment would have logistical challenges. Zifa communications manager Xolisani Gwesela confirmed Caf had insisted on the Cameroon referees who have since arrived in the country. “I can confirm that Caf has insisted that we use the same referees from Cameroon for the match on Sunday.
The three referees arrived in the country at 12 pm today (yesterday). The match commissioner will arrive in the country on Saturday. We will bear the burden of all expenses for the referees including their accommodation. The issue of the expenses will also be tabled before the match commissioner when he arrives on Saturday,” Gwesela said. The Zambia national soccer team is expected back in the country on Friday.
According to Caf rules and regulations, the host association takes care of the visiting team and referees’ expenses for five days and with the referees having arrived on Tuesday it means they are going to be in the country for more than five days.