JOHANNESBURG – David Thidiela can’t get away with harassing a referee.
The Black Leopards chairman went absolutely bonkers on Sunday afternoon and confronted match official Victor Hlungwani following his side’s narrow 1-0 defeat to high-flying Bloemfontein Celtic at the Thohoyandou Stadium.
An enraged Thidiela even threatened to contact Safa president Danny Jordaan to report Hlungwani for being unfair towards his team during the game.
We know this is a common occurrence in the lower leagues of SA football, and perhaps Thidiela, having been in the doldrums of the NFS for the last five seasons, picked up a habit that he felt would still be acceptable in the top-flight.
An audio that circulated on social media on Monday placed Thidiela pitch side moments after Hlungwani blew the whistle to hand Celtic victory.
“I’m the boss here Hlungwani, I’m paying you. I allow mistakes to happen on the ground, mistakes happen to everybody, but this was not a mistake. I’m giving you the last warning, you come here for the last time, I’m tired Hlungwani, I’m tired,” Thidiela shouted.
Thidiela has since apologised for his angry comments. However, his shameful behaviour should not go unpunished by the league.
As difficult as it is, he should lead by example when faced with such testing circumstances. If a club boss can react in this manner to what they feel is poor officiating, imagine the wrath of the supporters of that same club.
Moreover, Thidiela is a member of the league’s executive committee and what message will the PSL be sending if he is not hauled over the coals for this abuse of a referee.
In a statement yesterday, the league distanced itself from his remarks, stating clearly that he has been given time to respond to the incident in Thohoyandou before Thursday’s executive committee and board of governors meeting.
It’s a good sign that they have reacted this quickly and acknowledged that Thidiela has violated the rulebook with his utterances. No club boss, official, player or referee is above the laws of the game. The Leopards boss must face the music.