Safa withdraws Siwela – without his knowledge

Assistant Referee Zakhele Siwela. Picture: Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix
Assistant Referee Zakhele Siwela. Picture: Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

The South African Football Association scored a spectacular own goal on Sunday – after withdrawing assistant referee Zakhele Siwela from tonight’s international friendly between Morocco and Argentina without his knowledge.

City Press has reliably learnt that Siwela only got to know about his withdrawal while trying to board his flight.

According to an informant, Siwela was disappointed to learn about the decision by Safa only on Sunday evening. He said had Safa informed the assistant referee of their decision on time, he would not have had problem with that as they are his bosses.

“He was packed and ready to board when the airline told him his ticket had been cancelled,” said Siwela’s confidante, who did not want to be identified.

“He then made a few calls and that was when he was told by a CAF official that he had been taken out of the game because they received a letter stating he was not available.

“Imagine the embarrassment and the frustration. Why was there no courtesy to let him know that he has been withdrawn from the game?”

The informant questioned the wisdom of withdrawing the assistant referee, who was meant to officiate the international friendly with the officiating team that travelled with him to the World Cup in Russia last year.

“How could they do this to him when he has another important game to officiate on Friday? This disappointment could affect his performance and who is to blame for this?”

Siwela is set to jet to Qatar tonight to officiate in the CAF Super Cup final between Espérance de Tunis of Tunisia, last year’s CAF Champions League winners, and Raja Casablanca of Morocco, last year’s CAF Confederation Cup winners at the Thani bin Jassim Stadium in Al Rayyan in Qatar.

Safa did not respond to the questions sent to them. 

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