toughies for refs

Meshack Motloung

Meshack Motloung

Refereeing is one of the biggest challenges in the game of soccer because a referee is all by himself in the middle of the park.

He is faced with 22 players, the crowd as well as the teams' benches.

Everybody is looking at the referee and it is unfortunate that when he handles the game well, no praises are heaped on him

But one small mistake, then people start to howl and scream at him.

His decision must be accurate and quick, although he is using his naked eye, while people are watching him with keen interest, looking for mistakes to criticise or attack him.

It might be an honest mistake, but spectators out there will believe that it was deliberate.

So this job is undoubtedly taxing because the referee needs full concentration because he carries the hopes of thousands of football supporters.

The Absa Premiership offers the winning team R10 million, the new MTN 8 goes with R8 million for the winners, the Nedbank Cup champs bank R6 million and the Telkom Knockout is R4 million to the winning side.

With this kind of money in the Premiership, referees in the league need to be on their toes all the time.

Following the blunders which some committed in this league, internationally acclaimed referee Ace Ncobo says whistlemen need to work harder to try and eradicate mistakes.

He said now that the league had announced a new competition with big bucks, referees and officials needed to be on their toes all the time.

But Ncobo also points out that referees are also human and apt to make mistakes However, that does not mean committing mistakes deliberately.

He says that systems from overseas called Referee on field Electronic Communications System, have bee ordered to assist referee and their two assistants to spot mistakes at the wink of an eye.

Another innovation was that of reviewing the officials every three months and those who did not perform up to the standard would be relegated to the lower division and those who qualify at the lower division to be promoted.

In last week's Telkom Charity Cup matches, referees were highly disappointing.

Some referees came with up some questionable decisions that could easily spark a riot, resulting in deaths or injuries to the fans.

Although many of these officials disagree, stating that the standard has improved and is better than before, the whistlemen are still committing minor mistakes that could either cause the team the game or big bucks.

During the Charity Cup game between Orlando Pirates and Platinum Stars, second half substitute Hareaipha "Simba" Marumo kicked the ball out of the Pirates goalkeeper's hands and scored.

The goal stood, much to the amazement of the Bucs fans.

Another instance was when Chiefs were awarded an indirect free kick in the six-yard area.

The player who was supposed to take the kick merely rubbed his studs over the ball and David Mathebula standing next him scored when the ball had hardly rolled away.

Law 13 states that in all free kicks, whether direct or indirect, the ball must roll or travel the distance of its circumference, that is 27 inches before it can be kicked or touched by another player.

Former referee Zacharia Mosetlhe, who officiated during the the now defunct National Professional Soccer League, said the standard of referees in the league has improved.

Mosetlhe agrees with law 13, but Ncobo said that it was no longer in use and was already scrapped.

The new law says: The ball is in play when it is kicked and moved.