‘Lucky packet’ refereeing irks De Sa

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By Jonty Mark

Johannesburg – Roger De Sa and Stuart Baxter have called for an improvement in the standard of refereeing in South Africa, with both left clearly frustrated by the performance of Robert Smith in Saturday’s Soweto derby.

De Sa referred to South African refereeing as a “lucky packet” and lambasted Smith for not showing a yellow card in the second half to Kaizer Chiefs winger Siphiwe Tshabalala for diving. Smith had booked Sifiso Myeni for simulation not long before, but appeared to bottle a decision that would have led to Tshabalala being sent off for a second bookable offence.

“Myeni was booked for diving, then Tshabalala got into the penalty area, and it could have been a dive or a penalty. But you can’t just walk away. You can’t give a yellow card two minutes earlier for diving and then a guy falls over, and you just wave it away. It is either a penalty or a yellow card for diving,” he said.

The Pirates coach also complained about Smith’s decision to book Andile Jali early in the game.

“The first four tackles from their No31 (Willard Katsande), nothing happened. (Andile) Jali made his first tackle of the match and was booked. He has to play the rest of the game with a yellow card, while the No31 goes the rest of the game without a card,” added the Bucs coach.

Jali actually appeared to be booked for dissent, but there was no denying that Smith should have booked an over-exuberant Katsande.

“These are inconsistencies we see in every game, but they all ref next week,” added De Sa.

“Our players would be dropped and out of a contract. It’s got to improve. A game of this magnitude went out to the whole world.”

Baxter was visibly agitated with Smith throughout the 90 minutes, remonstrating on more than one occasion with fourth official Zolile Mthetho.

“I said to Roger after the game that if we had lost I would have kept my mouth shut,” said Baxter after the derby ended 1-1.

“But I’ve got to say it the way it is. If a player plays poorly, we tell them, you guys report it.

“Officiating is a massively difficult thing and I know and understand in a game like this they (referees) are also under pressure.

“But if we talk about the development of South African football, it is an area that needs to develop.

“Developing young players need to know what defending is. Is this a good tackle, or should it be a red card? If we don’t know how do we coach it?

“I hope my players don’t get penalised for me saying the way I feel, but I am deadly honest and I will tell the referee if I think he had a good game. I think that one went backwards and forwards too much for my liking. We didn’t really know at the finish if we were going to get a corner, a goal kick, a yellow card, or a throw in. When you are awarding points out of 10 for a player, you should talk about the referee as well.

“It is not about being disparaging and disrespectful … it is worth talking about.

“It is the same as if you are discussing development in South African football. I’ve said for years you need more development for kids, more development programmes, good leagues, better coaching. It’s a path to the national team, I know it was a broken record when I was with Bafana.

“I would say exactly the same with referees, we can’t stand still. If we have this honest debate and say that was brilliant today, or that was average today, or bloody difficult to play today, based on that let’s have a discussion about it, on how they can improve. I am sure referees want to improve. They don’t want to just hear coaches moaning and groaning all the time.” – The Star

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