By OkaDonga Gumbi
Former Premier Soccer League (PSL) top referee, Ace Ncobo has weighed in on the refereeing during the MTN8 quarter-finals last weekend.
Some of the refereeing decisions in particular two of the games left some supporters aghast and in disbelief.
In the Saturday game where Orlando Pirates lost to Swallows FC, a referee disallowed what looked to be a clean goal by the Dube Birds.
But it was to be on Sunday where the refereeing was even worse. It was the game between Mamelodi Sundowns and Kaizer Chiefs.
During the game, Victor Gomes, who is a trusted Fifa accredited referee, denied Sundowns a clear penalty call.
Amakhosi midfielder, Cole Alexander had handled the ball inside the box. But it was during the penalty shootout where many complaints arose.
First, it was Itumeleng Khune. The Chiefs keeper pushed the ball out when it had gone over the line to save Lyle Lakay’s penalty.
Ncobo says the assistant referee, the much revered Zakhele Siwela was unsighted by his wrong positioning to make a proper ruling.
“This was crazy stuff and we can’t escape the criticism leveled against the referees,” said Ncobo during an interview with SAfm on Monday.
“Once a referee always a referee and we are all disappointed by the officiating this past weekend.
“With the penalty that went over the line and wasn’t given, the positioning of the assistant referee was not correct.
“His right foot was on the goal-line which means his eyes were looking inside the field. So with his positioning, he would not have seen the ball go over the line,” explained Ncobo.
There was also an issue with Sundowns goalie, Kennedy Mweene moving off his line before making saves. He saved four of Chiefs’ penalties to help Sundowns win 2-1.
“There were four brilliant saves by Mweene. He used the luxury that is afforded by the game which says don’t be rigid.
“Out of those four, three were marginal and one was blatant and should have been retaken,” said Ncobo of the saves.
He said the Safa committee that oversees the operation of the referees should be transparent about how they deal with such mistakes.
“It is now up to SAFA’s review committee to decide what happens with the officials. Also, they need to be transparent with the action they take.
“But with Wendell Robinson, he had a device and saw the replay. But he has no right to be VAR, you can’t be your own VAR.”