By Cwenga Maqhubela
Issues of bad officiating in the campus football league and other regional leagues around Nelson Mandela Bay has been the major challenge for most teams this season. This has led to many disputes and controversial decisions taken by these inexperienced officials.
As part of the recreational and social development for young players and officials (referees) the campus football league aims to offer opportunities in those fields. Young players around the age of 18-25 participate with the hope of gaining some recognition or a break-through to the professional world.
Instead, recently the league has been under fire due to the level of officiating. This has been a problem from the high and professional league in the country (ABSA premier league). The most recent case has been in the match between Orlando Pirates and Highlands Parks where a clearly offside good was allowed by the assistant referee. This brings in context the problem faced by the CFL and other regional leagues within NMB.
Unfortunately for the players who end up on the side that did not benefit from these errors they have little to console themselves with either than complaining. One player who has been part of a team that was robbed from these incidents is Mandinake Zulu who is a player for Klesal FC. During the season they played 21 games which were officiated by unprofessional referees. Out of many complains which were stated by Zulu, experience and being able to handle pressure seems to be the most important factors in this problem. “It is because some of these referees are not good and don’t understand the rules of football,” said Zulu when I asked him what the causes of these issues may be.
Khanya Chanti who is a player for one of the teams in the league and once was chosen to be an assistance referee said sometimes the official may be a rival, competing for first place in the log, so in that way they find a chance to disallow the top teams competing against them in the league. The game of football promotes fair play and entertainment with the aim of creating equal opportunities for all but that is in an ideal sport.
One of the campus football league administrators Athi Mfikili said they are aware of these incidents and they try to deal with the perpetrators according to the rules and regulations of the league. There were a few matches that were overturned, and points have been deducted as a result of bad officiating in the CFL. Players can launch their complains to us the administrators and proper procedures will be followed. As a remedy to an official that can be found guilty to the charges of match-fixing and other related cases, the individual may be charged or be suspended.
Fairness is always encouraged when teams select people who will officiate on a certain match and most importantly those individuals must have a clear and good understanding of the rules. “We are planning to train independent officials that are not attached to any team and they will be selected by the panel of referees” said Mfikili.
Related: Officials need to face the music
Pundits and analysts have raised an interesting question about our football standard in South Africa. This also provokes the question as to whether our top league is still a professional league or what. For our grassroots to be inspired and dedicated there needs to be proper implications of officiating from the highest level then it can be taken into consideration by the lower divisions. For more info on how to spot an offside or what are the rules of an offside click here.
These leagues provide opportunities to many individuals from soccer players to the referees. If something is not going well or is not structured accordingly from this age group then there will be no development for our country. This is a problem in the NMB that young players are facing with the hope that maybe one day it will be resolved.
Related story: Teams are benefiting from referees errors.