IN an unprecedented move, a local referee dragged the Register General to the High Court to compel the civil registry’s office to issue him with a travel document for a 2022 World Cup qualifier match.
Top referee Brighton Mudzamiri filed an urgent chamber application at the High Court that sought to compel the Registrar General to issue a travel document for a Mauritius and Mozambique qualifier match.
In court papers gleaned by B-Metro Sport the referee stated that failure to travel for the game would prejudice him of a long time to officiate in a World Cup qualifier match.
“The applicant (Mudzamiri) is a renowned Zimbabwean referee who has been invited by the World governing body, Fifa to officiate a World Cup qualifying match between Mozambique and Mauritius as a match assessor.
“This is a life time opportunity for the applicant and Zimbabwe as a country and once missed the applicant won’t get that opportunity especially if it is missed because of our country’s reluctance to issue travel documents to its citizens.
“If missed Fifa will not consider Zimbabwe referees for other assignments such as this one,” read Mudzamiri’s application.
The Mauritius versus Mozambique match was played in the island’s capital city of Port Louis on Wednesday night and the visitors snatched a 0-1 win.
Mudzamiri travelled for the match although it could not be immediately ascertained what the outcome of the court action was.
Zifa technical and development committee chairman Bryton Malandule confirmed that Mudzamiri travelled to Mauritius for the Fifa assignment.
“Initially he wanted to travel to Mauritius using an ETD (emergency travel document) because his passport had expired but was advised the authorities in that country do not accept that type of travel document.
“It’s baffling why the passport office was taking long to issue Mudzamiri with a passport considering that he had all necessary supporting documents from Fifa, the Ministry of Home Affairs and Zifa.
“We are pleased that he was eventually issued a passport and travelled for the Fifa assignment,” said Malandule.
The country has been facing a huge backlog for new passports over the past few years and Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage Minister Cain Mathema is on record stating that government was doing all it can to clear the backlog.
Minister Mathema said the Registrar General’s Office would soon start producing 8 000 passports daily with a view to clearing the 28 000 backlog that has accumulated at the passport office.