THIS YEAR’S FIFA PANEL

CityPress - - Sport - Male ref­er­ees Male as­sis­tant ref­er­ees Woman ref­er­ees

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.

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