Sigh… No VAR in SA soccer before 2022

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Victor Gomes (Gallo Images)
Victor Gomes (Gallo Images)
Cape Town - A further spate of controversial refereeing decisions highlighted Bidvest Wits' bizarre Nedbank Cup penalty shoot-out victory against Orlando Pirates at a befuddled Orlando Stadium on Sunday a matter of days after SAFA president Danny Jordaan had declared VAR technology would not be introduced into South African soccer before 2022.

It therefore needs to be pointed out with a matter of urgency that more than 30 countries have already followed FIFA's edict to implement technological advancements to assist referees - who are indeed human and therefore prone to making errors - and despite understandable teething problems in following the example of other sports like tennis, cricket and rugby, made the transition with the overriding result of limiting wrong and inflammable decisions.

Blasé South African soccer administrators, however, appear more inclined to follow the example of Mad Magazine's Alfred E Neuman, while enumerating the proposition "what me worry."

Certainly bemused referee Victor Gomes, despite his ingrained, no-nonsense and resolute approach, might have been grateful for a slice of outside technical assistance at Orlando Stadium to confirm or revoke an uncanny succession of debatable decisions regarding the awarding of penalties and such-like - and eased, if not silenced the ire of rival players, officials and supporters in turn.

As it was, the game between two traditionally fierce rivals threatened to get out-of-hand and seemed destined for a place in the "believe it or not" annals after Wits had surrendered a 2-0 half-time lead to trail 2-3 until the very last seconds of extra-time before making the score 3-3 despite being reduced to 10 men.

Then, Wits missed two penalties in the shoot-out and the Buccaneers three, while both sides heightened the apparent, if incorrect impression that they were not much interested in winning the ultimate 3-2 penalty shoot-out decider.
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