SA faces huge shortage of referees

Canaan Mdletshe

Canaan Mdletshe

South Africa is facing a huge referee shortage, bordering on a crisis, it emerged at the official opening of the SAB Regional League national playoffs in Newcastle.

Sylvester "Professor" Ndaba, technical referees committee member, said they were experiencing a big problem in developing young referees to replace the old guard.

He said many people involved in football would rather become sports administrators.

"It is difficult for us to lure young referees to take up the challenge," said Ndaba.

"Youngsters would rather be a coach or even a security guard at the stadium than being a referee, which is a huge challenge for the country as a whole.

"We need to come up with synergies that will help us encourage people to take up refereeing."

Mandla "Shoes" Mazibuko, chairman of the Safa competitions committee, shared Ndaba's sentiments. But Mazibuko said they had come up with a plan.

"Our strategy would be to identify players with a love of the game and we will train them to become referees. Many people are afraid to take refereeing because it is not for the heart-fainted," he said.

Mazibuko said the problem was so big they can't suspend referees who commit high-profile mistakes because of the shortages.