Two referees face the axe from the list of South Africa’s FIFA officials

(From L-R): Match officials Victor Hlungwani, Zakhele Siwela, Akhona Makalima and Victor Gomez display the new official jersey during the Safa sponsorship announcement at Safa House, Johannesburg on September 11 2018.
(From L-R): Match officials Victor Hlungwani, Zakhele Siwela, Akhona Makalima and Victor Gomez display the new official jersey during the Safa sponsorship announcement at Safa House, Johannesburg on September 11 2018.
Image: Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

Both Victor Hlungwani and Thando Ndzandzeka are expected to be culled from the list of South Africa’s Fifa referees despite not yet reaching the mandatory retirement age‚ TimesLIVE has learnt.

The pair are paying a heavy price for what officials say has been a lack of progress in their performances and a decision to instead push younger officials forward.

There are five South African referees on the Fifa panel‚ which means they are entitled to officiate international matches‚ which earns them a minimum of about R17,000 at a time.

It is the pathway to officiating at major tournaments like the World Cup and Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) finals and a Fifa badge is the highest level to which a referee can aspire.

Hlungwani is still three years away from mandatory retirement at the age of 45 while Ndzandzeka is six years away.

But the SA Football Association (Safa) have decided the pair have gone as far as they possibly can and so are looking to bring in younger referees in their place.

Jelly Chavani and Eugene Mdluli are fancied to be appointed to next year’s Fifa panel‚ despite only making their debuts in charge of Premier Soccer League (PSL) matches last year.

Hlungwani is heading to Nigeria this weekend to handle the Caf Champions League second round‚ second leg match between Lobi Stars and Gor Mahia of Kenya in Enugu on Saturday.

It is likely his last international assignment.

There is also uncertainty over the future of Chris Harrison‚ who has been injured and not blown a PSL match this season.

He might be retained on the Fifa panel because age is on his side.

Fifa have been encouraging the promotion of younger officials.

The PSL have debuted several this season who are younger than 25-years-old like Masixole Bambiso.

Among the linesmen on the Fifa panel‚ Lindikhaya Bolo‚ Sandile Dilikane and Thembisile Windvoel are said to be heading for the chopping block‚ opening space there also for three younger officials to be promoted.

There are a total of seven South African assistant referees on the Fifa list.

The new list is traditionally announced by Fifa right after New Year.

Would you like to comment on this article or view other readers' comments? Register (it’s quick and free) or sign in now.

Speech Bubbles

Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.