Johannesburg - Botswana referee Joshua Bondo is surprised about the hullabaloo regarding his head-butting incident.
Bondo made international headlines after he appeared to have head-butted Angolan player Masuekama Natael during an international friendly game between South Africa and the Palancas Negras in East London on Tuesday.
Partially blinded by sweat
But a source close to Bondo said the official was concerned that his name had been bandied about on social-media platforms over the incident.
Natael made a meal of it when he went down immediately after the head butt as if pole-axed by a ton of bricks.
However, the source – also from Botswana – said Bondo had told him that he was partially blinded by sweat when the incident happened.
“He is a professional and a mature referee and cannot do something like that deliberately. Everybody saw what happened and it was not like he did it on purpose. He feels hurt by the insinuations,” said the source.
“He told me he had sweat in his eyes and could not see properly and that the head butt was accidental. What has been happening worries him as it portrays him in a bad light. But he has taken it like a man.”
He said even the players did not make a fuss about it and did not raise the matter after the game, when they travelled together to Johannesburg.
Back on panel
Meanwhile, top South African referee Daniel Bennett faces six weeks on the sidelines after failing a fitness test last weekend. As a result, Bennett has been removed from handling the CAF Confederation Cup game between Al Hilal Elobied and Gambia Ports Authority in Sudan this week.
He was supposed to officiate at the game with assistant referees Zakhele Siwela and Johannes Moshidi.
Victor Hlungwani has been assigned to handle the game.
The good news for the SA Football Association is that a few officials who had failed their fitness tests in January – Phillip Tinyani, Lwandile Mfiki, Lindikhaya Bolo, Thembisile Windvoel and Sandile Dilikane – are back on the panel.