Referees arrive two days late

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The Zimbabwe-Zambia African Nations Championships first leg match officials who were stranded in Nairobi since Friday, finally arrived in Harare on Tuesday afternoon two days after the day the match should have been played.

Kevin Mapasure

The quarter of the quartet of match referee, Juenkou Wandji, first assistant, Noupue Nguegoue, second assistant, Lambi J. Fuanta and reserve referee Nde Christopher Ade all from Cameroon touched down at the Harare international airport in the afternoon and will stay in Zimbabwe until Sunday when the match is expected to finally take place.

Zifa chief executive officer Jonathan Mashingaidze confirmed their arrival.

“The referees have finally arrived, we will have to keep them here until Sunday when the match will be played,” said Mashingaidze.

Zifa informed Caf about the arrival of the referees yesterday and the continental body advised the local administration to take care of the officials until Sunday.

After missing flights that would have seen them arrive in Zimbabwe either on Saturday or on Sunday afternoon, the referees were battling to make the trip and only succeeded on Tuesday.

It was expected that Caf would appoint a different set of officials for Sunday’s match and even after the Cameroonian referees were advised to return home they still made the trip.

Last week Zifa wrote to Caf asking them to reconsider the appointment of referees from Cameroon as it would be expensive for the Cuthbert Dube led association to fly in the referees such a faraway country.

But Caf declined to make any changes.

Even after it was clear the referees who were stranded in Nairobi since Friday, would not make it in time for a 3pm kick off on Sunday, a request to fly in South African match officials was turned down.

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