Former football referee Andile ‘Ace’ Ncobo is of the view that the South African Football Association (SAFA) is using the referees ‘lack of fitness’ or readiness to bully the National Soccer League from resuming with the football season.
In a statement released on Tuesday, SAFA indicated that it would take at least 2 weeks to ensure that all match officials meet the required fitness levels to be able to officiate.
This will result in the PSL missing their Saturday, 18 July 2020 deadline of resuming with the matches.
Speaking to FARPost, Ncobo said it is a lie that SAFA referees are not ready as they have been training during the national lockdown.
“That’s why nobody from SAFA would come and say no we are telling lies, referees are not ready. They know themselves that it’s a blunder by using referees as a reason for not allowing the PSL to resume as per the deadline date,” he said.
“Let me tell you what the situation is, each referee on the panel has a daily training routine and their training routine must be recorded on a daily basis, and weekly Referees must make a submission to SAFA. Referees during the lockdown never stopped training because SAFA never stopped demanding those weekly reports, so how can you demand that referees keep fit? Because you can’t submit that training report if you are not training.
“How can you demand that they submit weekly training reports and then after three months of submitting those weekly reports you then turn around and say referees are not ready? You can’t! And you can’t say they are not ready because you have not tested them. It’s just like a biology teacher whose students are writing a test tomorrow and you say no because I have not tested them they are not ready. I will only know if they are ready after they have written the test. No that’s not how it works,” Reasoned Ncobo.
Although Ncobo did not want to be drawn into the politics between SAFA and the PSL, he has advised the PSL to just accede to the bullying from its football mother body and resume with football next month.
“When I speak I want to stick to facts, once we talk about what’s at play it’s all analysis of the political space and I don’t want to be a political analyst because most of that is speculative so I rather stick to facts and the fact is referees are ready and I can prove that.
“The only thing the PSL need to do is to accede to the bullying by SAFA. They need to say ‘you want us to start on the 1st of August? We will start on the 1st of August’, it is as simple as that because look FIFA have not put out a blanket requirement for the completion of these seasons,” he said.
“Let’s just say, the referees were not training during the lockdown, you will therefore require 6 weeks to get them back into top physical fitness. You will not require two weeks so anybody who says referees require two weeks from 0-100 really doesn’t know what they are saying. But fortunately because referees have been keeping at level 100 there is no requirement even for a single day. They just have to make sure that they pass the fitness tests and indeed they are not bringing the coronavirus into the BSE,” said the former PSL General Manager.
Efforts to reach SAFA Head of Referees, Tenda Masikhwa were unsuccessful.
By Ofhani Munyai