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Boss defends erring referees, says they are 'human'

Ebrahim feels standard has improved despite mistakes

Sihle Ndebele Journalist
Abdul Basit Ebrahim the new head of referees at Safa.
Abdul Basit Ebrahim the new head of referees at Safa.
Image: Lefty Shivambu

Amid the public outcry over some glaring mistakes by match officials in recent PSL games, Safa head of referees Abdul Ebrahim still doesn’t think the standard of officiating is dropping.

AmaZulu coach Romain Folz is one of a few DStv Premiership coaches who have questioned the standard of officiating in the PSL. Folz vented out his feelings when referee Christopher Kistoor adjudged Motebang Sera’s strike, that bounced off the crossbar, to have crossed the goal line before reversing that decision when Usuthu lost to Royal AM last Sunday. A day earlier, Bradley Grobler was denied a clear goal, which was wrongly flagged offside in SuperSport United’s loss to Golden Arrows.

“The level of officiating has not dropped. The standard is very high. Yes, there are incidents that occur and spark debate but that doesn't necessarily mean the standard is poor,” Ebrahim told Sowetan yesterday.

“Referees make mistakes... they are human. The same for a striker, he stands in front of the goalpost and he misses. Does his football, all of a sudden, become poor? No it doesn’t work like that. If a referee makes a mistake, it doesn’t necessarily make for a poor match official and the standard of officiating doesn’t necessarily drop.”

Since referee Jelly Chavani and fourth official Moeketsi Molelekoa were suspended for six weeks for awarding Kaizer Chiefs a stoppage time penalty against AmaZulu in October 2021, Safa has hardly released any statement about sanctioning match officials. According to Ebrahim, this doesn’t mean they don’t punish erring officials.

“You must know that though we haven't been saying anything to anybody about match officials being punished or not, it doesn’t mean we haven’t been taking action,” said Ebrahim.

“There are various types of remedies if something goes wrong on the field or there is a particular incident where it may not seem as such to anybody. We look at the match and identify the match official’s needs to work on in terms of positioning and reading [the laws of the game].”

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