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HARARE referee Donald Shonhiwa has received a major reprieve and will not face any Zifa Referees Committee sanctions after Premiership champions Dynamos sensationally withdrew the charges they had levelled against the match official for his alleged misconduct during their Derby showdown with CAPS United.

Dynamos have instead since apologised to Shonhiwa and the Premier Soccer League over the matter.

Shoniwa had earlier this week come under the spotlight for the wrong reasons after Dynamos skipper Murape Murape claimed that he had been verbally abused by the match official.

Murape charged that Shoniwa was hostile to them from the first whistle and the Dynamos players were not amused after he allegedly insulted their mothers when they confronted him after the match.

The Dynamos captain subsequently filed a police report against Shoniwa, whom he also accused of intimidating his players in the 73rd Premiership derby between DeMbare and Makepekepe, which ended 1-1 at the National Sports Stadium last Sunday.

It is against the background of their captain’s protests and police case that Dynamos as a club then lodged their official complaint against the referee with the PSL, urging the top-flight body to “urgently deal with the matter”.

But just days after lodging their complaint with the PSL, which the league’s chief executive Kenny Ndebele had forwarded to the Zifa Referees Committee, Dynamos wrote back to the league withdrawing their case before any hearing had been conducted.

Dynamos team manager Richard Chihoro authored both the club’s complaint and the withdrawal of the case in which they also unreservedly apologised to Shonhiwa.

In his complaint, Chihoro had listed three major incidents they were unhappy with, which they felt warranted sanctions on Shonhiwa from the Zifa Referees Committee.

“We write to air our displeasure over the conduct of Mr Darlington Shonhiwa, who handled the match between CAPS United and Dynamos yesterday (July 13) at the National Sports Stadium. The following are our grievances:

“Our captain was threatened and yellow carded for enquiring on the referee’s decisions.

“The referee openly threatened and intimidated Dynamos FC players that if any one of them dared complain on his decisions, he would red card them.

“After the game, he insulted Murape and Mutuma (Rodreck) using abusive language, resulting in our players reporting the matter to ZRP officers who were present at the National Sports Stadium. The report was recorded under RRB 110 14.

“May you please look into this matter, we trust that you will give this matter your urgent and undivided attention,” wrote Chihoro.

But before the Zifa Referees Committee, which is chaired by Warriors legend John Phiri and includes retired Fifa panel referees Wilfred Mukuna, Brighton Mudzamiri, Edson Nkau, Sabelo Sibindi, and Tendai Bwanya had sat, Dynamos withdrew their case not just at the police but also at the PSL.

“Reference is made to our letter of complaint on match official Darlington Shonhiwa, who handled the match between CAPS United and Dynamos. As the team manager for Dynamos, I would like to formally withdraw our complaint and apologise to Mr Shonhiwa, PSL and all stakeholders for the inconvenience caused,” wrote Chihoro.

Mukuna, who is also the Zifa Referees Committee vice-chairman, acknowledged Dynamos’ withdrawal of the case and said his committee would still have “a counselling session with Shonhiwa”.

“He has obviously gone through a lot since the allegations were made and it is important for us as a committee to just sit him down and counsel him so that he does not get affected by what happened and the backlash that may have come from some Dynamos supporters.

“After reviewing the D of the game, we did not see anything wrong with his performance to warrant any complaints from the two respective clubs (Dynamos and CAPS United).

“We also urge clubs and players to respect referees irrespective of whether he is someone they know or someone new to them.

“These referees are appointed on merit and as such should be judged on merit. Our committee has resolved to bring in more transparency and like I said, we will not hesitate to sanction our referees when they err and we will make public our decisions, whether one has been suspended or downgraded but in this case Shonhiwa handled the derby well,” Mukuna said.

Shonhiwa also had a nightmarish end to his first Premiership derby after being pelted by missiles by some rowdy fans as he made his way out of the National Stadium after the game.

Source : The Herald