Johannesburg - The SA Football Association (SAFA) is confident that there will be enough and competent match officials 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 this week.
Out of the eighty-three (83) match officials that took part in the FIFA-sanctioned fitness test at Boksburg Stadium this week, 59 made the grade with 21 being 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 further wishes to inform the following:
• Victor Hlongwane and Daniel Volgraaf will be given time to recover and will be retested at a time still to be determined
• Jerome Damon is suffering from a hamstring injury and once he has finished his rehabilitation will also get a chance to be re-tested
• Victor Gomez, who did not do the test on Sunday because of flu, had his test on Wednesday and passed
• Lwandile Mfiki managed to pass 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 indicated his desire to retire.
• Harry Lekitlane and Robert Sithole have reached the mandatory retirement age, and have indicated that they will offer their services to the association as match commissioners/assessors. They have since completed a FiIFA match commissioner’s course and they now qualify for operational duty for the PSL and NFD.
Sithole will blow the whistle for the last time on Sunday 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.
“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 that have failed will be back on the panel once they have been re-tested and passed.” said SAFA's chairperson of referees Alpha Mchunu.
“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 FIFArules, 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 that 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,” added Mchunu.
“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 SAFA’s chairperson of referees.
“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,” he added.