THIS YEAR’S FIFA PANEL
Daniel Bennett (since 2002) Victor Gomes (2011) Christopher Harrison (2017) Eugine Nkosinathi Mdluli (2019) Emmanuel De Sani (2014)
allege that they were not consulted.
One of them told City Press that they were astonished when they found out who had made the list.
Four newcomers – Athuxolo Madela, Kgara Mokoena, Khamusi Razwimisani and Elphas Sitole – will be making their international debuts as assistant referees. Another newcomer is referee Nkosinathi Mdluli.
The late Eketsang Setloboko, who passed away tragically in a car accident last month, was initially on the list.
“We are shocked by the list because Athuxolo Madela (2019) Kgara Mokoena (2019) Athenkosi Ndongeni (2018) Khamusi Razwimisani (2019) Elphas Sitole (2019) Zakhele Siwela (2010) we didn’t sanction it,” said a technical committee member who did not want to be named.
“This is sending the wrong message. Is this how we reward our officials who have been doing well for the country outside our borders? You can’t have four newcomers on the list. As much as we want to promote youngsters, you can’t just throw all of them in at once.”
But Safa’s head of referees, Tenda Masikhwa, denied the accusations, saying they were looking at the bigger picture. He said both Hlungwani and
Moshidi were taken out because of their age, and Ndzandzeka was removed because of performance. Ironically, Bennett is the same age as Hlungwani.
Masikhwa said it was unfortunate that people brought colour into the equation.
“It is a point for concern for us. Maybe we should have navigated through that better by explaining our stance from the beginning, as well as talking about where we want to be in the next five or so years,” he said.
He admitted that Bennett and Harrison were not active, but said he was confident they would be back.
“In the case of Chris, he ran the fitness test while injured and has not been retested since. We are monitoring his situation and he is likely to get tested before the end of the month. We are in constant contact with CAF regarding his situation in case he can’t make it.”
He said Fifa had a provision that allowed an official who had not been tested to be included on the list.
On the issue of Bennett, Masikhwa said they did not want him to bow out with a cloud hanging over his head.
“It is true that he has not been featured. I wrote a letter to CAF in March trying to get to the bottom of his situation. Unfortunately, there hasn’t been any feedback, but I am still pursuing it. No one wants to retire with a question mark behind their name. Therefore, he is included on the list.”
The country would have only three referees if Fifa did not accept Setloboko’s replacement and if Harrison did not pass the test.