Cape Town - Former referee of the year Buyile Gqubule on Wednesday announced his retirement, just three days after he again failed the fitness test for top flight referees.
According to the supersport.com website, Gqubule did not achieve the required fitness standard in July and failed a re-test in Kroonstad on Sunday.
“After due consideration, taking into account age and recurring injuries, I feel now is the right time to call it quits. I have no regrets; I have enjoyed fruitful 19 years on the pitch.
I would mostly like to thank SAFA and my refereeing colleagues for the support in making my refereeing journey a success,” he said in a statement published by the South African Football Association.
“The greatest highlights of my career included officiating in Africa’s biggest derby, the Soweto derby involving Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates. I also did duty in some world class international friendly matches and I would say my best game was the MTN 8 semifinal between Chiefs and Ajax Cape Town,” he added.
Gqubule will now dedicate his time towards the development of referees at the lower leagues as he believes there are numerous referees who have the potential to blows at the top level.
Acting head of SAFA Referees Department, Lindile ‘Ace’ Kika paid the following tribute: “It is sad to have to part ways with one of our most proficient referees in South African football. He contributed immensely and I would like to wish him all the best in his future endeavours.
“Gqubule is a man who avoided controversy at all costs despite the nature of his job and even with him sitting on the side lines, he never criticised but offered support to his refereeing colleagues.
“Significantly, when he took the decision to retire, he said his priority would be in developing upcoming referees in the lower leagues. We hope that many will follow in his footsteps,” added Kika.