Komphela Takes A Dig At Referees

Kaizer Chiefs coach Steve Komphela was not a happy man after his side’s 1-1 draw with arch rivals Orlando Pirates at the FNB Stadium on Saturday.  Komphela bemoaned the standard of officiating in the Absa Premiership, and even suggested that in future the league’s top brass might have to look elsewhere for referees that can handle matches of this profile.  Speaking in the post-match press conference, he said:  ‘If all stakeholders, all of us, understand the importance of football, we must always try to elevate the game.  Not relegate the game.  None of us is likely to be above the game.  Maybe in time we will need to go across the borders to get people who will help us with matches.’ 

Komphela was visibly frustrated with some of the decisions made by referee Phillip Tinyani, who incidentally was voted referee of the season at the end of the last campaign.  The Amakhosi boss says:  ‘At the end of the match I tried extending the hand to the first assistant referee who was running just alongside our bench.  Then he refused it.  This reminds me of a colleague of mine who at some stage tried to shake the referee’s hand.  This is fair play.  We make mistakes.  It’s an emotional game.  At the end of the game we shake hands, whatever happened, happened.  Now if he holds grudges, it’s not part of my profile.’

He was making reference to then Golden Arrows coach Serame Letsoaka, who experienced the same thing when they lost to Chiefs earlier this season, and also made a bold declaration that the referee there was not PSL standard.  With Komphela under so much pressure to deliver at Chiefs, the derby came at a time when fans are starting to become agitated with the team’s performances.  Coming to the match, the Glamour Boys had won six, lost only two, but had drawn seven so far this season; the most by any team in the league. 

This is the reason he was so desperate for a win, and says the margin for error is very thin:  ‘When you get officials like this, thank God there was no disaster there.  But at the rate it’s going, a match of this calibre, winning and losing is the difference between Itumeleng Khune touching the ball with his finger and it going for a corner and him missing the ball –  inches.  That’s how far small margins go.  Now other people have the luxury to just throw their shoulders all over the place.  Come on man.  They must just toe the line.’

On the other hand it was put to Pirates coach Eric Tinkler what Komphela had said, but the 45-year-old, who is perhaps the more under pressure of the two, was very economical in his response:  ‘I don’t really want to comment on the refereeing.  I’d rather leave that to the people in charge, which are the match commissioners. (sic) They will write their report.’  The call to import officials for PSL matches might be a far stretch, but this is sure to trigger the long standing debate on whether match officials in the country need to be professionalised.

Photo credit: Nick Lourens