SAFA’s Head of Referees Defends Match Officials As Local Coaches Cry Foul Over Recent Decisions

SAFA’s Head of Referees Defends Match Officials As Local Coaches Cry Foul Over Recent Decisions

Byron Pillay
April 23, 2024 at 8:55 AM
  • Abdul Ebrahim doesn't believe there is a problem with refereeing in the country despite some recent complaints
  • Some Premier Soccer League coaches, like Mamelodi Sundowns Rulani Mokwena have criticised the officiating
  • Ebrahim believes coaches should focus on their jobs and leave the officiating to those in charge of monitoring it

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Is there a problem with the state of refereeing in South African football?

That has been the complaint of many coaches in the DStv Premiership following a string of controversial decisions in recent games.

The South African Football Association's Head of Referee's has weighed in on the complaints of coaches about the officiating.
SAFA's Head of Referees Abdul Ebrahim wants coaches to worry about their jobs and not the standard of officiating. Image: @Thuso4u.
Source: Twitter

Despite the issues raised by managers, the South African Football Association's (SAFA) Head of Referees doesn’t think there’s any cause for concern regarding the state of officiating.

As noted by News24, Abdul Ebrahim told coaches to focus on their jobs and leave the performance of officials to the body responsible for them.

"Coaches who say that is the case. Obviously, they have a right to their own opinion, but at the end of the day, the state of refereeing in South Africa is not bad. It is not poor; we are not suffering,” he said.

Ebrahim added that it was unfair when coaches made these comments, as they knew the laws of the game and how they were applied. He also called on them to provide more information to the refereeing body about incidents they were referring to before commenting on them.

He added that coaches pointed out supposed errors quickly but never commended officials when they did a good job.

"They talk about what they assume to be errors, but they will never commend match officials when they do well. I don't take kindly to that, however, at the end of the day, it is their opinion, and they are entitled to that. It's just disappointing that they make such comments. I would urge them to focus more on their football, and we will focus more on the refereeing," Ebrahim said.

Which coaches have criticised referee decisions?

In recent weeks, local coaches have become more and more particularly vocal about match-deciding decisions.

AmaZulu coach Pablo Franco Martin has been more vocal than others. His team was on the wrong end of two big calls against Orlando Pirates in two separate games.

AmaZulu received what some felt was a soft penalty during the Nedbank Cup tie against the Buccaneers. They were leading 1-0 at that stage and eventually lost 4-2.

Two weeks later, Usuthu star Abbubaker Mobara was shown a red card 21 minutes into the game.

Rulani Mokwena questions referee’s actions

Mamelodi Sundowns manager Rulani Mokwena has also been vocal about some of the decisions, especially after his team’s recent draw with Moroka Swallows.

Sundowns were leading 2-1 when Gabadinho Mhango scored a late goal, initially ruled out for offside. After a lengthy discussion, the referee awarded the goal, but Mokwena questioned who the official consulted with when the league didn’t have VAR, Soccer Laduma reported.

Ace Ncobo debunks secret VAR claims

Mokwena isn’t the only one who suspects a secret VAR is being used in the league.

Matthew Booth also questioned its use after a recent DStv Premiership game.

Former FIFA referee Ace Ncobo has dismissed those claims, Sports Brief reported.

Byron Pillay photo
Byron Pillay
Byron Pillay is a sports writer and Head of the Department at Sports Brief (joined in 2022) with over 10 years of experience in community journalism and a degree in journalism from Caxton's Cadet School.