Fumbling Downs v Chiefs referee facing the firing squad.
Embattled referee Luxolo Badi is staring down the barrel of a gun after one of the most lethargic performance this season, which saw Kaizer Chiefs getting eliminated out of the MTN8 semi-finals by Mamelodi Sundowns in Atteridgeville last Saturday.
Safa’s head of refereeing Abdul Ebrahim did not want to confirm nor deny what is likely to happen to Badi and his assistants Kenny Mamegwa and Lubabalo Pitsah. Ebrahim said he was just waiting for the report from his review team and did not want to offer his opinion on the matter.
Badi disregarded and turned down a couple of penalty calls from Chiefs in the heated last-four match. The most blatant call was when Sundowns’ Thapelo Maseko hacked Mduduzi Mdantsane from behind inside the penalty box, with the referee a few meters away from the incident. If awarded, that clear penalty could have changed the outcome of the match, with Amakhosi needing just one goal to upstage the Brazilians.
TV referee pundits and analysts have come down hard on the refereeing team that is likely to face a lengthy ban on the sidelines for their inept handling of the match. PSL supporters have been calling for the video assistant referee (VAR) to be implemented in the league to avoid such incompetent and substandard officiating to continue unabated.
In August referee Siyabonga Nkomo and his linesman Thamaga Sebati were both slapped with a 16-week Rehabilitation Programme suspension for their glaring, costly error which resulted in Sekhukhune United losing a match in bizarre circumstances against Moroka Swallows in Polokwane.
“We are just waiting for the review panel to send us the report,” Ebrahim told Sunday World on Wednesday. “I am expecting it anytime from now, and only then we will now what to do and what next steps should be taken. I am not allowed to give a personal opinion on such matters as it could be different from the review panel. We just have to wait and a decision will be taken,” he added.
Ebrahim added that Nkomo and Sebati were doing well in their rehabilitation programme and they are hoping that they will come back better referees: “Nkomo and Sebati were assigned instructors from their provinces to work with them during the programme. They are not focusing on one area, they are covering all the topics and they are being put into tests. We hope they will carry on with what they learnt in the rehab programmes.”
Ebrahim explained further and said that VAR was not in their hands but was a matter that is being handled by the powers that be at the football mother body, Safa.