Refs changing lives, one howler at a time
GOAL! Um, maybe no goal. Actually, off-side. Oh, wait, to add to the confusion, we will make it a drop ball. And just to put the cherry on top of this shambles of a cake, let us give a penalty that isn’t and make amends for the horror show we made of the last decision.
Referee Cedrick Muvhali oversaw a disastrous second half in the Mother City, and he is lucky that the final decision was a home-town one. Had it been the other way, he may well have departed the Cape Town Stadium with red lights, and not the blue ones he needed as an escort.
There may have only been a handful of supporters in attendance, but they were incensed enough to have hunted him down and demanded answers to the curious questions he created. And, he surely knows that if that fixture had been “in the hood”, he may have had to change his address, and probably his mode of transportation.
That is not to condone the potential violence that his bizarre actions would have no doubt caused, but Muvhali and his ilk must know that their howlers don’t merely end at the shrill of the whistle. Football is the most popular sport on earth. Thus, it has the most potential to escalate and disintegrate into anarchy. Polokwane’s players and staff were close to that on Friday night – as were Cape Town City.
It is not often that both sides can feel quite so aggrieved in the same match, but that is the special kind of ineptitude that Muvhali served up under the Friday night lights. The joke that was the supposed officiating would be funny, if it wasn’t quite so serious.
Football is a serious matter, and these farcical decisions have grave consequences. Not six-feet-under-kinda grave, as some will suggest, but grim enough to be a case of job or no job for coaches and, sometimes, players.
It can’t be a case, then, of calls being made as if they are being plucked from a lucky packet. The richest sport on earth still somehow languishes behind infinitely poorer cousins, like tennis, cricket and even rugby, which have all taken the absolute shocker out of their officiating repertoire. This is how we end up with matches like South Africa v Senegal being replayed, and puzzlers like #Muvhali trending on Twitter.
Let us be clear: Even technology would have struggled to put a lid on the catalogue of clangers that Muvhali racked up, but a 10-second delay may have cleared up that first goal. And that may have saved us from that ludicrous penalty at the end.
Benni Mccarthy wore the face of a man who was about to administer the kind of dondering that kicks off with, “Jou ma se .... ”, and who would blame him. On the back of the problems he has already had with officials, the former Bafana striker must have been ready to go Hurricane Irma status in his post-match interview.
He is quickly realising why so many of his fellow retirees opt to stay on the pampered analyst cushion, instead of the lottery that is standing on the touchline, hapless to the unpredictability of the 23 humans on the field. Management is not good for the heart, and his first month on the job would have confirmed that.
It is literally Lotto on steroids. The money is great, but the ride alone might just kill you. Heck, at this rate, Mccarthy may yet shed the excess weight that he struggled with at West Ham United.
The officiating really is that life-altering.