Referees: 21 fail national fitness test

2012-07-23 00:00

JOHANNESBURG — The SA Football Association (Safa) is confident that there will be competent match officials — and enough of them — at the start of the 2012/2013 Premier Soccer League (PSL) season.

According to SuperSport.com, this comes after a number of experienced referees failed their pre-season tests in Johannesburg last week.

Out of the eighty-three match officials who took part in the Fifa-sanctioned fitness test at Boksburg Stadium last week, 59 made the grade and 21 were unsuccessful.

The high number of failures was attributed to adverse weather conditions, but Safa has acknowledged the outcome of the Fifa sanctioned tests as being credible and in accordance with the Fifa rules and regulations.

The association noted the following:

• Victor Hlongwane and Daniel Volgraaf will be given time to recover and will be retested at a time to be determined;

• Jerome Damon is suffering from a hamstring injury and will be re-tested once he has finished his rehabilitation;

• Victor Gomez, who did not do the test because of ’flu, had his test on Wednesday and passed;

• Lwandile Mfiki passed a re-test on Thursday;

• Buyile Gqubule and Charl Theron both failed the re-test. While Gqubule will get another chance for a re-test, Theron has said he wants to retire;

• Harry Lekitlane and Robert Sithole have reached the mandatory retirement age and said they would offer their services to the association as match commissioners/assessors. They have since completed a Fifa match commissioner’s course and qualify for operational duty for the PSL and National First Division.

Sithole blew the whistle for the last time yesterday in the Mbombela Cup, which features Mamelodi Sundowns, Orlando Pirates, Sivutsa Stars and Mbabane Swallows. Lekitlane’s farewell match will be decided at a later stage.

Said Safa’s chairperson of referees, Alpha Mchunu: “Despite the setback we have suffered, I believe we have enough cover for the season, so there is really no reason to worry at all.

“The few seniors who have failed will be back on the panel once they have been re-tested and passed.

“Therefore, in terms of the officials who participated in Sunday’s fitness test, those results are standing and binding.

“The unsuccessful candidates will, however, get a second chance, which, in accordance of the Confederation of African Football (Caf) and Fifa rules, will be in six weeks’ time.

“The rules state that any official who fails in the first attempt should be given a six-week recovery period before going through a second attempt.”

Of the 21 match officials who failed, 12 are new on the panel.

“These are our new and young referees. We have seen how much talent they possess, hence our decision to give them another chance to be tested. And I still believe, if it wasn’t for the weather conditions on the day, they would have done extremely well as they are very good.

“We will manage the situation, it is not a disaster as has been implied in some quarters. At the same time, we will also try and give assistance to those who failed in the lead-up to the next fitness test scheduled for Tanzania in six weeks’ time,” added Mchunu.

“Most of those young referees who passed Sunday’s fitness test are well equipped, very promising and ready to take up the big test thrown at them.”

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