Safa get some refs through
THE Premier Soccer League will have experienced referees on hand for the opening salvos of the new season next month after all.
This comes after a decision to re-test officials Thursday in the wake of Sunday’s embarrassing mass failure by the top refs of their mandatory pre-season physical examinations.
Now all but a handful of the country’s leading officials are available to take charge of the start of the MTN8 and league next month, avoiding the potential crisis of having a bevy of inexperienced officials in charge of key games.
The tests were redone after 14 of the 25 officials tested on Sunday failed.
The South African Football Association blamed bad weather on the failures and accused visiting Fifa instructors of intransigence in going ahead with the test despite being asked to wait until the chilly high winds abated.
Yesterday’s tests were re-run at the initiative of Safa and do not count as Fifa examinations.
But there were some high profile casualties, including Gabriel Sekopo, who only two months ago handled the Nedbank Cup final. Also failing yesterday was Buyile Gqubule, a former Referee of the Year, and Charl Theron.
Referees seeking to get onto the Fifa panel will still have to go to the next Fifa tests in a another African country, probably Tanzania, in the next six weeks. And they will have to do so at their own expense.
This affects Victor Hlungwani, currently injured, and Daniel Volgraaf, who did not do the tests yesterday because of a bout of ‘flu.
Daniel Bennett passed on Sunday and Victor Gomes, who missed the test because of illness, took his on Wednesday and passed. Lwandile Mfiki passed yesterday at the second attempt.
Jerome Damon, also seeking to get back onto the Fifa panel, pulled a hamstring on Sunday and will await a doctor’s examination before deciding on what to do next.