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Kaizer Chiefs coach Ernst Middendorp on match officials: 'Firstly who is benefitting?'

Kaizer Chiefs coach Ernst Middendorp in a discussion with club football manager Bobby Motaung after the match.
Kaizer Chiefs coach Ernst Middendorp in a discussion with club football manager Bobby Motaung after the match.
Image: Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

Kaizer Chiefs coach Ernst Middendorp has added his voice to the growing calls for the professionalization of match officials in South Africa.

Match officials have come under intense scrutiny this season after a series of poor performances and Chiefs' 4-2 penalty shoot-out win over rivals Orlando Pirates in the quarterfinals of the Telkom Knockout in Durban on Saturday was also dominated by numerous questionable decisions.

“For me the only solution is not communication or VAR.

"The only solution is for the South African Football Association (Safa) and the Premier Soccer League (PSL) is to make match officials professional‚” said Middendorp.

“I have been leading in these discussions for a long time with other coaches following that professionalization must come in where everybody is prepared and has a clear target like we do as coaches and players.”

Some of the glaring poor decisions by the officials included Chiefs’ disallowed goal by Samir Nurkovic in the first half which was erroneously flagged offside by near-side assistant Zakhele Siwela.

Then there was failure by referee Jelly Chavani to send off Pirates midfielder Thembinkosi Lorch for what looked like a deliberate stamp on the leg of Khama Billiat.

Chavani's inaction led to scuffles between players.

Pirates‚ who finished the match with 10-man after defender Mthokozisi Dube received a red card in the second half‚ were unlucky not to benefit when Chavani controversially waved play on when it appeared that Chiefs goalkeeper Daniel Akpeyi had brought down Tshegofatsho Mabasa in the box.

Though he pointed out the challenges‚ Middendorp said it doesn’t serve any purpose to keep on criticising match officials after every game as they are trying their best under difficult circumstances.

“At the moment I have only compliments for the referees because they come in and do their best‚" he said.

"I think is pumped into the public this thing of benefiting‚ firstly who is benefitting?

“Is it Pirates ‚Sundowns‚ Highlands Park‚ Black Leopards or even here with Chiefs‚ it happens and it is normal.

"Have you seen the goal for Bloemfontein Celtic against SuperSport United‚ have you seen the Pirates goal against Highlands Park.

"I will repeat that they do their best‚ sometimes let it go and don’t even think about it.”

His Pirates counterpart Rulani Mokwena reiterated that mistakes by match officials are a loud cry for help.

“I am going to reiterate what I said during the week‚ officials need help.

"It does not help bashing them because it is not going to solve anything.

"We need to support them and find solutions to improve the standard of officiating in this country and I will leave like that‚” said Mokwena.