ZIFA is keen on seeing more female referees taking to the pitch as it pushing for equality in the male dominated profession with just 12 of its 72-member referees’ panel being female.
By Fungayi Munyoro
ZIFA Referees Committee chairperson Brighton Malandule encouraged provinces to recruit more female referees to create equality in the male dominated profession.
“Provinces must recruit more female referees. It is our desire as the Referees’ Committee to see more women rising. Last year a couple of women passed the beginners exam. This year we want to drop the pass mark for women to 70 per cent. This will encourage more women to join in, ” said Malandule.
Equality in the workplaces has been embraced in other sectors, but not in sports.
Manicaland province last held a referees course in March with a total of 28 participants of which only four were women.
The province has six female referees against 66 men.
Malandule said females appear to be discouraged from taking up refereeing because of hooliganism but encouraged them to have confidence of taking up the challenge.
“Hooliganism has been one of the challenges in football. It scares away our female referees. Women should also stop looking down on themselves. They can do the job.
“Some women drop out towards exams and some struggle to pay tuition fee,” he said.
Malandule said his committee is working tireless in grooming and recruiting female referees.
“We are working very hard to recruit beginner referees with the help of NAPH and NASH. We are also working with colleges and universities. We are sourcing donations for school going beginners so that they will not struggle paying tuitions. We have decentralized trainings to cut off costs for our participants, ” he said.
Plans are at an advanced stage in the province to establish district centers to train referees. The main targets being Honde Valley, Buhera, Makoni, Chimanimani and Nyanga.
Over the years the province has produced fine female referees who were even accredited to FIFA panel and officiated FIFA and CAF games.
Helen Masimba and Kuda Rusina Majo have since retired with Majo now a PSL and CAF match commissioner.
Currently there are only two female referees who are doing very well in the province – Claris Simango who is on the FIFA panel and Grace Gimo who is on the Zifa panel.
The province is set to establish teaching and learning clusters where referees meet and discuss laws of the game at least once a month under the supervision of instructors.