Pitso Mosimane Calls for Strong Referees

Satish Sekar
By Satish Sekar May 6, 2019 22:12

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Pitso Mosimane Calls for Strong Referees

By Satish Sekar at the Lucas Moripe Stadium © Satish Sekar (May 3rd 2015)

Officiating Standards

Wydad Athletic Club (WAC) have been accused of intimidating opponents and referees. Fouad Benzarti had earlier denied that Wydad practised such dark arts of football. Former Bafana Bafana boss Pitso Mosimane was careful in comments on officials.

“It’s a football game with emotions – heated emotions – pressure and we need strong referees,” Mosimane said.

“The referees have been good in CAF. I praised them in Rabat before the match.

“I was a little bit worried about the referee from Botswana [Joshua Bondo] in Rabat and the guy came out.
I don’t know if the pressure of the Cup of Nations, and that everybody wants to be there, but the guy came out.”

Evidence of Absence

Prior to the semi-finals referees were assessed by CAF. Significantly, (or not) the referees chosen for the semi-finals had not made the cut for the AFCON. Even more significantly, given the fact that VAR had been used in some CAF competitions, it was conspicuous by its absence even in the knockout phase.

That is astonishing – remember last season’s semi-final when Zambian referee Janny Sikazwe had a very bad off day at the office and was initially suspended.

Sikazwe had performed well at the World Cup, officiated at the Club World Cup previously, but was no stranger to controversy. Peter Butler, then coach of Botswana, once dubbed Sikazwe’s refereeing in a COSAFA Castle Cup match in 2016: ‘shameful and disgusting.’

Previous Controversy

After a controversial loss 3-2 to South Africa, Butler let rip to SuperSport as follows:

“But I’d just like to say that this tournament will never ever gain any leverage or credibility when we have atrocious and disgusting and shameful refereeing decisions – not just tonight, but throughout that tournament.

“This is the same guy that sent me off, the same guy that gave a penalty against us the last time and he’s given two penalties tonight. We were the better team for the majority of the game.

“Good luck to South Africa. I wish them well, but I think it’s disgusting and shameful.”

Butler had also pointed that one of the penalties was won for handball from a cross by Aubrey Modiba, a player who was lucky to be on the pitch.

Standards

Modiba was accused of stamping on Player of the Tournament, Onkabestse Makgantai midway through the first half. Sikazwe was no stranger to controversy, but was awarded the 2018 CAF Champion’s League semi-final between Esperance and Angolan team, Primero Agosto. His performance in the match in Rades, Tunisia, led to a suspension for corruption last November. It was eventually overturned.

However, VAR was introduced for the final. It did not stop the controversies, but that was largely due to the standard of refereeing. It raises a further issue: how can Africa’s most important club competition not use VAR, at least, throughout the knock-out phase.

Mosimane is hopeful that the corner has been turned.

“You saw in Alexandria with Ahly, he [Bakary Gassama] gave yellow cards if you misbehave – both sides – so I can say we are starting to get proper standard of refereeing in CAF. It’s brilliant and we feel good.”

But he still wants VAR.

Satish Sekar
By Satish Sekar May 6, 2019 22:12