Highlanders Technical manager Hendrikus Pieter de Jongh who has come across the ugly side of Zimbabwean match officiating thrice since he took charge of the team in September is ‘praying for a good referee’ for his side’s Chibuku Super Cup semi-final clash against ZPC Kariba at Barbourfields stadium on Sunday.
Addressing journalists during a pre-match press conference held at Highlanders office on Thursday afternoon, de Jongh said he was happy that the semi-final will be played in a good pitch, and he was now hopping for a fair referee.
“I don’t believe in advantage because in cup football everything is possible. I pray that on Sunday we get a good referee, all we want is a fair referee for both teams, that’s what I am praying for,” said de Jongh.
The Dutchman’s comments come against the background that Bosso have been at the receiving end of poor officiating in most of their away matches this season – the latest incidents being the last three away league matches against Herentals, ZPC Kariba and Dynamos.
All matches ended in 1-1 stalemates, but justifiably so, de Jongh has not been happy with the way the three matches were officiated.
Against Herentals Highlanders were hard done by controversial referee Norman Matemera who gave the hosts a dubious penalty which was converted by Blessing Majarira in the last minutes of the game to force a share of spoils, while Prince Dube was unfairly sent off against ZPC Kariba by referee Tatenda Bvekerwa at Nyamhunga stadium in de Jongh’s second away league match as the Bosso technical boss.
Last Sunday in the match between Dynamos and Highlanders referee Munyaradzi Majoni hogged the limelight for wrong reasons with atrocious and shocking calls against the Bulawayo giants.
In one of the incidents he awarded Dynamos a free-kick for the ball that had rolled out for a throw-in, and it is the same decision that gave Dynamos an equaliser in the 83rd minute.
De Jongh added that his team’s Sunday opponents are a very good side, as evidenced by the position they occupy on the league table.
“I believe there is no advantage because its a cup game. The only good thing that is good is that we play on a good pitch,”
“Respect for [ZPC] Kariba, but their pitch is not so good, we know our home ground has a good pitch, for us that’s good. Another point is [that ZPC] Kariba is a good team, and they have very good players, they play good football,”
“That’s why they are fourth on the log, they will play up to the end for the tittle. There is only a five point difference between CAPS United and [ZPC] Kariba, that says enough about the quality of [Kariba],” added De Jongh.
When the two sides met at the same venue for a league match in May, Highlanders were propelled to a 2-0 victory by Ariel Sibanda and Tinashe Makanda’s goals.
To make their way to the semi-finals of this year’s edition of the Chibuku Super Cup, Bosso beat rivals Dynamos 1-0 in the first round played at Rufaro stadium before booting out FC Platinum in the quarter-finals with a convincing 3-0 victory at Barbourfields stadium.