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Jomo Sono on the standard of officiating in the NFD: 'You can smack a referee'

Jomo Sono is appalled by the standard of officiating in the lower tier.
Jomo Sono is appalled by the standard of officiating in the lower tier.
Image: Sydney Seshibedi/Gallo Images

Jomo Sono has decried the standard of match officiating in the GladAfrica Championship, saying some referees are so bad, and in some cases apparently openly corrupt, “you could smack them”.

The Jomo Cosmos owner and coach admitted it was a minority of referees who are poor, but said some appear to have obviously “come out to rob you”.

The SA Football Association are so aware of the problem of corruption in match officiating in the First Division as to have announced recently they would be engaging the SAPS to investigate instances.

Sono referred to a recent interview given by TS Galaxy owner Tim Sukazi on Marawa Sports Worldwide, giving a graphic opinion on how poor the officiating was in his team’s First Division game against Real Kings.

“I listened to the Radio Metro [Marawa Sports] story, which was disgusting,” Sono said.

“But, you fear in that league – sometimes, not all of them – you can smack a referee.

“And some of them you can see they are doing it purposefully. You know, they are on an agenda – they are working.

“And some of them I even phoned the selectors and said, ‘Please don’t bring this ref to me, because he’s after me’.

“Forty years in the game, no yellow card, I’ve never been booked. I never speak about referees.

“They do rob you – some of them. Some just come out to rob you.

“It’s the first time I went to a referee's dressing room and said, ‘You know, you’re bad’. The guy was just bad.

 “He even gave us a red card long after the game. You could see the guy was working.

 “And it’s January now. You know, the schools, the school fees, the uniforms. Some of us who’ve been in the game we know that December is for holiday; and then January, that’s where the school fees start.

“But some referees are good. I would say 80% are good. But that 20%, wow.

“I go to games too. You see some of the games, you just feel like walking away. And you know what had been happening with the suitcase stories, and so on.

“But it looks like the suitcase stories, ever since it came out on Metro [Marawa], have gone down a bit now.

“It’s football. Even in England it happens. But here it’s consistent – December and January [it is bad]. The other months – sharp, no problem, you can bring anyone.”

Sono was speaking ahead of Cosmos’s Nedbank Cup last-32 match against third division Hungry Lions at Olen Park in Potchefstroom on Sunday.

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