PSL’s ref­er­ee­ing de­ba­cle could have life-threat­en­ing con­se­quences

Weekend Argus (Sunday Edition) - - SPORT -

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 match be­tween Cape Town City and Polok­wane in the Mother City and he is lucky 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 if that fix­ture had been ‘in the hood’, he may have had to change his ad­dress, and prob­a­bly his mode of trans­porta­tion, too.

That is not to con­done the po­ten­tial vi­o­lence his bizarre ac­tions would have no doubt caused, but Mu­vhali and his ilk must know their howlers don’t merely end at the shrill of the fi­nal 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 Mu­vhali served up.

The joke which 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.

Let us be clear. Even tech­nol­ogy would have strug­gled to put a lid on the cat­a­logue of clangers Mu­vhali racked up, but a ten-sec­ond de­lay may have cleared up the first goal.

And that may have saved us from the 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 could blame him?

On the back of the prob­lems he has al­ready had with of­fi­cials – high­leighted in yes­ter­day’s Week­end Ar­gus – the for­mer Bafana striker must have been ready to go Hur­ri­cane Irma in his post-match in­ter­view.

Quickly, he is re­al­is­ing why so many of his fel­low re­tirees opt to stay on the pam­pered an­a­lyst cush­ions, 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 McCarthy’s first month on the job would have con­firmed that.

Coach­ing is lit­er­ally the Lotto on steroids.

The money is great, but the ride alone might just kill you. Heck, at this rate, McCarthy may yet shed some ex­cess weight. The of­fi­ci­at­ing re­ally is that life-al­ter­ing.

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