ERSL issues statement on abandoned FC Wangu Mazodze, Mutare City match

Roseline Mutare

MASVINGO – The Eastern Region Soccer League (ERSL) has issued a statement on the delayed match which eventually abandoned half pitting bitter rivals FC Wangu Mazodze and Mutare City Rovers FC at Mucheke Stadium on July 8, 2024.

According to the league, the regional office was informed by both teams that there were no match officials present at the scheduled kick-off time of 2:00 PM.

Despite regional coordinator, Langton Chitsa’s assurance that officials had been appointed and notified via SMS, it was discovered that the messages were not delivered to the officials according to the statement in possession of The Midweek Watch.

The match officials finally arrived at 4:02 PM, but the match was eventually called off at 5:50 PM due to poor lighting at the stadium which does not have flood lights, with Mutare City Rovers leading in the second half.

The ERSL has contacted the national football association and the referees’ association regarding the incident and is awaiting a report.

“We apologize for the inconvenience caused and assure our stakeholders that we are working to ensure a smooth continuation of the season,” said Fungai Munyoro-Chingaira, the ERSL administrator.

“This incident highlights the importance of effective communication in sports management.

“The league and the teams are working together to ensure a seamless continuation of the season,” she added.

She said the ERSL appreciates the patience and understanding of its stakeholders and remains committed to delivering an exciting and successful season.

Meanwhile ZIFA general secretary, Yvonne Mapika Manwa has issued an apology to the ERSL board for the mishap.

Below is the full statement:

“On behalf of the Zimbabwe Football Association [ZIFA] and the ZIFA Referees Committee, I extend our sincerest apologies for the delay and subsequent inconveniences experienced during the match between FC Wangu Mazodze and Mutare City Rovers held at Mucheke Stadium on Sunday 7 July 2024.

 “We deeply regret the disruption and the negative impact this incident has had on the teams, the league, and its stakeholders. We understand the importance of timely and well-coordinated officiating in maintaining the integrity and smooth operation of our matches.

 “We have taken immediate steps to address the communication failure and are implementing measures to ensure such an issue does not recur.

 “The Referees Committee is reviewing its protocols and will enhance communication methods to guarantee reliable and prompt notification of match officials in the future.

 “Once again, please accept our heartfelt apologies for the inconveniences caused.

 “We are committed to learning from this incident and improving our processes to uphold the standards expected of us by the Eastern Region Soccer League and the wider football community.

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