‘Young referees are being rushed’


With the embarrassing officiating in the Premier Soccer League (PSL) having taken the centre stage since the beginning of the season, former SAFA referee Petrus Conti Mathabela blames the football authorities for ‘rushing’ young referees into the elite League.

The 2019/20 season has been marred by horrible decision-making from match officials, leaving many, especially different coaches, expressing their dissatisfactions.

In turn, the League has been sending letters to different coaches such as Pitso Mosimane (Mamelodi Sundowns) and Zlatko Krmpotic (Polokwane City) to explain their recent comments on referees.

The coaches are likely to be charged and fined.

Polokwane City coach Zlatko Krmpotic is one of the coaches that have been critical of referees.

Mathabela (59), who retired in 2004 feels experience is a major factor on the latest below par officiating.

“To me the young referees are being rushed so they don’t have the experience for the PSL matches,” he told FARPost.co.za.

“Sometimes as a referee you would make mistakes, but if you are not experienced enough those mistakes can ruin your whole match if you think about it too much and end up making (more) mistakes,” said Mathabela.

“If you can check the match (Highlands Park against Orlando Pirates) Tshegofatso Mabasa was never supposed to be allowed to score that goal, but because the referee was far and the linesman got it wrong then it ends up in a disaster like that,” he said.

“Experience is a major factor also; I don’t think some of them are experienced enough to be officiating in the League so there is no experience there. There are times where you don’t have to use your physical strength, but your experience counts on some of the things. Even with us old referees we had a fitness issue but to them it’s both. Sometimes they are not fit, and the experience is not there,” Mathabela added.

Some of the young referees who have been hugely criticised include Jelly Chavani (main picture) for his controversial calls during the match between Golden Arrows and Polokwane City, assistant referee Mervyn Van Wyk (who has since been suspended) for questionable calls in a game between AmaZulu and Kaizer Chiefs.

Assistant referee Buyisile Ngqambiyana who failed to disallow an offside goal by Orlando Pirates against Highlands on Tuesday has also been heavily criticised, while referee Abongile Tom’s decisions have also been questioned.

By Ofhani Munyai

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