Refs' head defends officials amid outcry

Ebrahim says whistlemen are scapegoats for many coaches

Sihle Ndebele Journalist
Referee Jelly Chavani and Sundowns coach Rulani Mokwena face-off during the PSL match between Downs and Swallows on Monday.
Referee Jelly Chavani and Sundowns coach Rulani Mokwena face-off during the PSL match between Downs and Swallows on Monday.
Image: Veli Nhlapo

Amid recent outcry by PSL coaches over questionable refereeing in the PSL, Safa head of referees has reiterated that erring match officials won't receive any harsher penalty than to be put through a rehabilitation programme that, at most, takes six weeks.

"Why must we punish people when they make mistakes? Do players get punished when they miss goals? Yes, they go through rehabilitation but we don't believe in punishment. We deal with our match officials and how we do it is appropriate to whatever the problem is,'' Ebrahim told Sowetan on Tuesday.

"We rehabilitate our match officials on an ongoing basis. We currently have match officials who are being rehabilitated. It's not necessary for me to mention names but you will see match officials who are not officiating for the next three, four weeks."

Mamelodi Sundowns coach Rulani Mokwena was a third PSL coach in a short space of time to have a go at referees after their 2-2 draw against Moroka Swallows at Dobsonville Stadium on Monday. Cape Town Spurs' Ernst Middendorp and Pablo Franco of AmaZulu had also complained about referees a few days earlier.

Mokwena lambasted the standard of officiating in SA and questioned the behavior of referee Jelly Chavani, who was seen speaking on his radio system before overturning his assistant Sbusiso Sisilana's decision of ruling Gabadinho Mhango's goal offside.

Even so, Ebrahim feels the PSL coaches are blowing the matter out of proportion. The referees boss also suggested that the complaining coaches weren't abreast with the laws of the game.

"Be it four coaches in one week [complaining], it's nothing new. Yes, referees make mistakes but to speak about the standard of refereeing, I think it's very unfair and disappointing but it's their prerogative to mention as they do,'' Ebrahim stated.

"Everywhere in the world people are complaining about referees. It's actually disappointing that football is actually the only sport, where people who played the sport don't know the laws of the game. Yes, they are going to look for a scapegoat and the referees have been scapegoats for many, many years. I do admit that there are mistakes that referees make and those mistakes are dealt with."

Ebrahim also said TS Galaxy coach Sead Ramovic's recent statement that they've had one referee, Olani Kwinda, in their last four games was "baseless". Indeed Ramovic was incorrect because four different referees were in charge in those four games.

Recent controversial decisions

April 9: Spurs v Sundowns (ref Thabo Mkhabela awarded Sundowns a penalty when the foul was outside the box)

April 13: AmaZulu v Pirates (ref Masixole Bambiso awarded Pirates a penalty even though there was no challenge on Pirates player from Usuthu defender inside the box)

April 15: Swallows v Sundowns (Chavani allowed the Swallows goal to stand, overruling his assistant who flagged offside)

Galaxy's last four games and their referees

March 30 v AmaZulu (Xola Sitela)

April 3 v Royal AM (Abongile Tom)

April 6 v SuperSport United (Bambiso)

April 14 v Chippa United (Kwinda)


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