After several incidents of rank poor officiating reared its ugly head in MTN8 matches over the weekend, there have been calls to use technology when the Premiership season kicks off this weekend.
The tragedy of some basic blunders was that the subject was stationary, and the naked eye would have sufficed. There was no need for technology.
When a penalty is taken, the law says the defending goalkeeper must remain on the goal line until the ball is kicked. The referee and one assistant referee are in a position to check to see that goalkeeper is on the goal line. It is the most basic of duties.
Once either of the officials sees that the goalkeeper is off the goal line, the referee will tell the goalkeeper to move. This is not what happened during the penalty shoot-out at the end of the Mamelodi Sundowns-Kaizer Chiefs MTN8 quarter-final on Sunday.
Fans must be facing the new league season with trepidation because the referee on duty on Sunday ranks among the best in Africa. Fans must be asking: “If gold rusts, what can iron do?”
As it turned out, the offending Sundowns goalkeeper Kennedy Mweene was allowed the freedom to be off his goal line – more than once. This allows him to narrow the angle of the kick, and he needs a shorter dive to attempt a save.
It is debatable if Mweene had a legal position at the time the penalties were taken, he would have made four saves. There should not be cause for debate if the match officials perform the most basic of functions.
There was also the matter of Chiefs keeper Khune grabbing the ball beyond the goal line after a Sundowns penalty. TV replays confirmed this, but the referee did not award a goal. The Sundowns players were, rightly so, correct that the goal had crossed the line.
PSL (NSL) chairman Irvin Khoza responded to the call for technology by saying it is unlikely to happen this season, mainly because of prohibitive costs.
Khoza said the NSL had discussed the matter with Safa because the national federation supplies match officials.
“There is the video assistant referee, virtual offside lines (VOL) and goalline technology GLT and all have been considered,” said Khoza.
“Now is the issue of phasing it, but as I said, there’s the issue of cost which must be factored into the discussion.
“It should be discussed in the next joint-liaison committee (between the NSL and Safa) because the issue of referees resides with Safa.
“It is a good thing to enhance the product. It could ensure that technically we are sound and making sure people are satisfied.
Although they’re not satisfied in Europe because when you say there’s an offside with the millimetre judgment, it is something some of us cannot see.”