Ref gets a roasting

DISAPPOINTED: Swallows coach Ian Gorowa. Pic. Antonio Muchave. 26/06/07. © Sowetan.
DISAPPOINTED: Swallows coach Ian Gorowa. Pic. Antonio Muchave. 26/06/07. © Sowetan.

Thabo Johnson

Thabo Johnson

Referee Robert Smith came under fire for decisions made during Sunday's Castle Premiership fixture between log leaders Bloemfontein Celtic and Moroka Swallows.

Celtic trounced the Dube Birds 2-0 at Seisa Ramabodu Stadium to leap to the top spot of the log.

However, the Birds' camp felt aggrieved, unlike their counterparts, whose mentor Khabonina Zondo refused to comment on the referee's performance, who only cautioned four players, John Maduka, Greg Etafia and Moses Spandeel in this highly emotional game.

Swallows' coach Ian Gorowa could not hide his disappointment with the referee's ability or lack thereof. "The man's handling of the game was embarassing and very bad for the league. He lost control of the match and it affected us. We need experienced officials in games of this magnitude," Gorowa said.

It was not surprising when Swallows players confronted Smith after the final whistle, protesting his decisions.

The two teams went to this game unbeaten and Gorowa reckoned that the referee may have had stage fright given the situation.

The highlights of the decisions were when Smith awarded Celtic a penalty after Etafia fouled Spandeel in the box. The referee allowed play to continue giving the hosts an advantage and a scoring chance with Siphesihle Ngobese finishing off the loose ball.

However, Smith blew his whistle, pointing to the penalty spot after the "goal" was scored. The referee stood by his decision and booked Etafia, who made a superb save denying Maduka in the 81st minute.