Our Mudiwa in Cape Town – Mudiwa Mundawarara, Citing Commissioner for Africa for many years was recently appointed as Lead Citing Commissioner for Cape Town HSBC. We wanted to know more about this experience..
– Could you introduce yourself ?
I have been involved in officiating rugby for 26 years now. I started refereeing in 1990. Over the years I have had the privilege of officiating throughout East and Southern Africa. My last International appointment as a referee was in 2005. Since then I have served as a Match Commissioner; as a Referee Manager and as a Citing Commissioner for CAR/Rugby Africa, as well as a couple of stints for IRB/World Rugby. My first appointment as a Citing Commissioner took me to West Africa for the first time. I still referee locally, at club and school level. I have also been an accredited Educator of match officials since 2009.
– How did you get involved in disciplinary matters ?
In 2010 IRB (as it was then) held a Disciplinary workshop in Nairobi. I was nominated by my Society and Union and I have served as a Citing Commissioner ever since. I think my refereeing background was, or rather is, quite relevant to my involvement in disciplinary matters.
– Did you first started to play rugby ?
As I said, I have been a referee for 26 years but before that I played the game as far back as senior primary school. I then played in secondary school then in the United States, as a university student. Upon my return to Zimbabwe, I played club rugby for 7 years before taking up the whistle. It is somewhat surprising to look back and realise that I have been involved in this game for 47 years !
– Can we consider that this selection as Lead Citing Commissioner for Cape Town HSBC is the confirmation of your career ?
Well, this certainly my highest profile appointment to date – the first of many to come, I hope ! There are still new challenges to meet in the game.
– How did you take up this new challenge ?
I was part of a team of citing commissioners who had quite a bit more experience than I do at this level. So, I took it up with zeal and with an open mind, conscious of the need to be part of a team of officials from which I could learn a great deal.
– Did you prepare in another way ?
I prepared as I always do, by thoroughly reviewing the Regulations and the tournament manual, specifically those sections that relate to disciplinary matters. As in refereeing, it is essential that one approaches officiating from a position of thorough knowledge of the Laws and of the regulations.
– What are the difficulties of your job ?
The difficulties of this job arise from a lack of knowledge or awareness of the role of citing in the game. As a result it is sometimes difficult to get the necessary support from unions to enable us to effectively discharge our duties.
– Could you talk to us about the handling of disciplinary matters in Africa ? How is it growing ?
As I said, it is sometimes difficult to convince our unions of the need to provide requisite resources, be they video support or even something as simple as access to support staff and equipment. It is heartening to note that Rugby Africa has shown growing commitment to disciplinary matters over the past 3 years.
– Do you think this job is different from a country to another / a continent to another ?
Well, I have yet to be appointed outside of Africa but the job is fundamentally the same in the various countries to which I have travelled. What varies are the logistical and attitudinal challenges that one faces from country to country.
– Are you satisfied of the evolution of the disciplinary committee’s activities in Africa ?
There have been considerable gains, of that there is no doubt. There is still much room for improvement. I have noted that not all of our colleagues take disciplinary matters seriously. There needs to more education, along with wider coverage of the outcome of disciplinary hearings. We could learn from how World Rugby does it. They post, and distribute widely, the outcome of disciplinary hearings. That way all will become more aware of the consequences of ill-discipline. That, together, with a clear and uncompromising stance on disciplinary matters by Rugby Africa, will enable us to progress.
– Do you think South Africa is an example to follow ?
South Africa is a Tier 1 country with vast experience in all aspects of officiating. I am convinced that we can learn a great deal from South Africa, as we would from any other major rugby nation. I believe that we (Rugby Africa) need to partner more with South Africa to expose of our match officials to first class rugby. I think that it is only through such regular exposure to rugby at higher levels that we will produce referees and match officials who can perform at the highest levels in the game. This would not be a one way deal. South African officials have long benefitted from appointments to fixtures in the rest of Africa.