THE CAMEROONIAN match officials who bungled the Africa Nations Championship qualifier between Zimbabwe and Zambia last Sunday have finally arrived in the country. The quartet of Aurelien Juenkou and his assistants Fuanta Joseph Lambi, Elvis Noupue and Christopher Nde were scheduled to arrive in Harare on Saturday to officiate in the CHAN tie at Rufaro on Sunday but remained holed up in Nairobi after missing their connecting flights.
The match officials, likely to be infamous when they officiate during the rescheduled tie on Sunday, eventually arrived yesterday afternoon.
Zifa communications manager Xolisani Gwesela said his association will be bearing all their expenses during their prolonged stay.
“The referees from Cameroon are now here and they will be handling the match at Rufaro on Sunday.
“The Confederation of African Football has insisted that we will use the allocated set of referees including the match commissioner.
“So far the referees have completed sorting out their visas and are ready,” said Gwesela.
After failing to arrive on Saturday, Zifa and the Football Association of Zambia in liaison with the match commissioner agreed to defer the match from 3pm on Sunday to 4.30 but still the referees were in no show.
Eventually the game was called off after a number of fans had already paid their way into the stadium while nearly 400 Zambians had travelled all the way for the match that never was.
Zambia could not wait any longer in Zimbabwe as nine of their players were scheduled to leave soon after the game for an international friendly against Senegal in France set for last night
Match commissioner Ian MacLeod from South Africa, who had come for duty on Sunday is expected arrive this Saturday.
“The match commissioner will be arriving on Saturday,” said Gwesela.
Gwesela said Zifa will try to get Caf to offset some of their expenses towards the match officials.
“Zifa will bear all the expenses during the match officials’ stay in Zimbabwe but we should be trying to table our concerns with Caf,” said Gwesela.
As Zifa once again try to focus on the CHAN assignment, Gwesela yesterday said all the national team players called for duty were supposed to report for camp last night.
However, his call could come to naught as all the players had been engaged by their clubs in anticipation of Castle Lager Premiership fixtures set for today and tomorrow.
Zimbabwe national team manager Patrick Mutesva, yesterday admitted that he was unlikely to get all players coming for camp on time in the light of the standoff between Zifa and the PSL.
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