Very few referees are spoken of fondly. If ever a match official gets extolled –a thing hard to find in the modern game – it is usually for his unbiased rulings and strong character to withstand lofty temptations in a football world littered with corrupt practices.
In our part of the globe, referees are often the ones found embroiled in the sport’s dirtiest of vices. Their paltry salary is explanation for this. However this week, a Zimbabwean referee did the hard to find – refusing to accept a whopping $10,000 bribe, a sum perhaps tenfold his basic salary.
Norman Matemera did not only ward off attempt to buy his conscience to fix a Confederation Cup tie between Equatorial Guinea side Desportivo Niefeng and Ivory Coast’s Williamsville AC but went further to bring Confederation of African Football’s attention to the purported incident.
The 35-year-old has been lauded for his naked honesty with the Zifa’s Referees Association even basking in the glory for the referee’s character, saying, Matemera’s rejection of the bribe was a gross act of integrity.
A cross section of fans lauded the official for the act.
Matemera is the only Zimbabwean on the Caf Elite B panel, which enables him to be considered for such competitions like the African Nations Championships.
He becomes the second Southern African official to do so after South African referee Victor Gomes was approached to fix the result of the first-leg clash that took place last Saturday in Nigeria but instead reported the matter to the Confederation of African Football (CAF), who are investigating the issue.