Johannesburg - Former award-winning referee Ace Ncobo has come to the defence of under-fire Victor Gomes.
The match official has been accused of trying to hog the limelight with his overzealous officiating.
Earlier this month, Mamelodi Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane urged Ncobo to advise and guide Gomes. This was after Gomes sent him off during his team’s game against Cape Town City three weeks ago.
“Victor Gomes always wants to be man of the match,” Mosimane was quoted as saying.
“He wants to be the centre of attention. He likes the big games. Check him, he always has his collar up. Even on his car [licence plates], it’s written ‘Mr Ref’.”
Just last weekend, the man dubbed Penaldinho dished out two red cards and awarded three penalties in the league match between Golden Arrows and Bidvest Wits.
Four years ago, Gomes made headlines after he awarded five penalties in the match between Downs and Ajax Cape Town.
However, Ncobo has nothing but praise for Gomes’ bravery and the fact that he is unperturbed by the criticism levelled against him.
“To me, he is the only brave referee we have in this country and, as a result, he is now suffering under the burden of his bravery,” said Ncobo.
He said it was sad that Gomes was castigated for trying his best.
“Do we want cowards who miss certain incidents or brave men who sometimes get it wrong?” asked Ncobo.
He advised Gomes to try to improve his accuracy rate and continue being himself.
“He should not change his style of refereeing because of criticism. Remember, he is not there to be popular, but to apply the rules to the letter. I know sometimes he gets them wrong and people tend to pick at his mistakes instead of the good work he does.”
Ncobo acknowledged that some of Gomes’ decisions were not spot-on, but said he got most of them right.
“But just because it is him, he will always be in the spotlight, whether the decision is correct or not. When an incident occurs and he believes it is a foul, he doesn’t hesitate to give it.”
Ncobo said what that he liked about Gomes was his consistency.
“Unlike other referees, he doesn’t consider what has taken place in the match before. Why do you remember which player is on a yellow instead of making a decision based on its merit?” asked Ncobo.
“What I like about him is that, if he believes it warrants a card, then he will issue one, irrespective of the consequences.”