Former PSL referee and head of referees Dr Errol Sweeney has claimed that Victor Gomes made the correct decision not to award a foul to Orlando Pirates in the build-up to Yusuf Maart’s match-winning Soweto derby goal for Kaizer Chiefs.

Kaizer Chiefs emerged victorious from a closely-contested Soweto derby at the FNB Stadium on Saturday after midfielder Yusuf Maart scored from inside his own half to hand the Amakhosi a 1-0 win over bitter rivals Orlando Pirates.

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The 27-year-old opened his account for the season in style by lobbing the ball over the head of Buccaneers goalkeeper Siyabonga Mpontshane from around 55 metres out after teammate Khama Billiat had won the ball in midfield moments earlier with a challenge on Ndabayithethwa Ndlondlo.

Billiat’s tackle on Ndlondlo was the source of controversy, however, as he appeared to have bundled Ndlondlo over in the build-up to Chiefs’ opener, albeit with little protestation from the Pirates midfielder, and referee Victor Gomes allowed play to continue.

This was the correct decision according to former PSL referee Dr Sweeney who reveals that officials have been encouraged to allow play to continue in instances where contact is minimal in order to facilitate a free flowing game.

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“Referees have been told by their respective governing bodies that they are to stop giving free kicks for what appears to be minimal contact,” Dr Sweeney tells Kick Off. “It is something that used to drive me absolutely crazy in the past but now they are tending to let the game flow a lot more.

“From what I can see there was very little contact between the Chiefs player and the Pirates player. It is a long way away and the referee is certainly closer to the action, and Victor Gomes is a very, very good and very experienced referee.

“He’s been around quite a while and has so much national and international experience. He would’ve been very close to the incident and he didn’t see anything wrong, and I am delighted because other referees might have taken the easy way out and given the free-kick.”

“There was no protest from the player concerned nor any of his teammates, so it seemed to be minimal contact between the Pirates player and the Chiefs player – and then what a goal it was!”

Dr Sweeney adds that a high profile match such as the Soweto derby does require referees to read the game a bit more in order to avoid tensions spilling over but that it should be treated in the same way as any other match in terms of allowing play to flow.

“Every game should be a free-flowing game,” he adds. “There’s no distinction between the Soweto derby, the World Cup final or an U12 match. It doesn’t matter, all games are the same. That’s what the fans want.

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“Of course, sometimes referees allow too much openness and then one tackle leads to another tackle and each succeeding tackle gets harder and harder.

“So you have to consider the occasion, read the game and nip these things in the bud before they get out of hand.

“But that’s not getting away from allowing the game to flow, because fans want to be entertained, as long as it is within the laws of the game. If it’s a foul, it’s a foul, that’s the end of the story.”

“The referee’s approach to the game should be the same as in any other game. I have refereed Soweto many, many Soweto derbies and I loved every one of them. I was kicking every ball.”


Sibabalwe · November 1, 2022 at 9:40 am

But Gomez was not consistent in that very match. Pity I don’t have technical expectise to show it here.

Innocent Malepfan · November 2, 2022 at 3:52 pm

Not every contact is a foul

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