The PSL and the NFD are our professional soccer leagues in South Africa. The standard of football displayed on these leagues is of the highest quality. Players are of highly talented and coaches are also highly qualified to manage their teams to glories awaiting them in these leagues. The only problem these leagues have been facing was the low quality of refereeing and it was very damaging to the images of these leagues. Nowadays the standard of match officials is much better.
Most of the decisions that were taken by these referees were questionable and inadequate. They seemed not well trained to officiate in top leagues like the PSL and NFD. The referees were not that bad, the assistant referees were the ones who seemed lost. Almost every offside decision in a match was judged wrongly. They seem not to understand how and when to judge a player offside. It was becoming a norm for these assistant referees to just raise their flags whenever they see a player running towards the goalposts with the ball alone.
Some decisions were so bad that they end up changing the reflection and results of a particular match, especially cup finals, league championship and relegation battles. We have witnessed a lot of mistakes on analysis done on Mondays on a national television show. These officials were full of mistakes than good match officiating.
The PSL and SAFA must make sure they address these issues on a continuous basis because they create a lot of confusion and hatred from fans. A lot of fans end up fighting and some risking their lives due to bad match officiating in these leagues. Even players are seen harassing these officials due to their inconsistency. The bad decisions made by match officials has a negative effect on players careers as they depend on how they perform for their teams and it does not help them when match officials are not doing their jobs correctly.
It is a very surprising thing to witness the standard of our match officials compared to other African referees that have graced our shores officiating in CAF competitions. The CAF referees are way better than our own local referees and they are trained in leagues which are less professional than ours. We are blessed with all the infrastructure that is needed to make sure the standard of our leagues including match officials is of great standard but we are the ones who are not producing top class match officials. Small countries like Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi, Ghana, and other African countries have better referees than us.
If these problems are not addressed sooner, they will have a bad effect on the game of football in the country and these will also affect our national team badly. Our children who are also excited about learning the game will also be negatively affected as they won’t be able to differentiate between wrongs and rights of the game.
Our country needs all the help that is available out there for us to be able to produce top match officials in the game of football. This game is so beautiful that it is a number one sport in the whole world, so we must make sure that we don’t lose interest from new people who are interested in being fans. Also sponsors may also pull out of the game due to these problems and the officials risk their lives as some bad decisions may lead in to them being not loved by people out there.