Rodney Reiners.
Rodney Reiners.
Benni McCarthy was not happy with the referee's performance on Saturday. Photo: Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix
Benni McCarthy was not happy with the referee's performance on Saturday. Photo: Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

Cape Town City and Kaizer Chiefs delivered a rousing football match at the Cape Town Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

It had just about everything – good football, goals, passion, excitement, drama and controversy.

Around 35 000 people flocked to the ground to create a fantastic atmosphere which added to the gloss of the occasion.

But, and this is the perennial problem with football in South Africa, for every positive, you can expect the negative to be lurking not too far behind. 

So, based on what was on show at the City-Chiefs spectacle, it is just as important that a warning is posted to football administrators, and to Cape Town City, the City of Cape Town and the security personnel responsible for policing the game: at the moment, there is a disaster waiting to happen.

At Saturday’s match, there were hundreds of people crammed into the aisles, making the viewing of those sitting in the seats not very pleasant.

But, more than that, the jam-packing of the aisles has the potential for catastrophe. If anything happens, and there is a stampede of any kind, rest assured, tragedy will ensue.

Football in South Africa has a bad reputation for ignoring warning signs, preferring to meander on its merry way and reacting only after the horse has bolted. 

Hopefully, this will ring a few alarm bells.

When so many people arrive for a football match, it’s extremely important that the aisles are kept clear. Surely, that’s the most basic of security thinking?

* Kaizer Chiefs emerged as 4-1 winners against City. 

Yet, as much as it was a game to savour, again it was a case of the referee trying to steal the show; it’s something that happens far too often in the PSL. 

In the words of City coach Benni McCarthy at the post-match interview: “When you’re playing against Kaizer Chiefs and their best player is the referee, then you know you’ve got no chance. 

“I know the league is going to come for me (for saying this), but they are more than welcome. I don’t know how many times this is going to happen before we do something about it.

“Your team gets cautioned for everything and, when Chiefs kick your team, and commit fouls, they only get a talking to.” 

McCarthy’s comments against the match officials, and against the country’s most popular and best supported team, won’t go down well, but he has a point.

The Cape side has had a rough time of it in recent weeks with regard to refereeing decisions. 

For example: two weeks ago, Austrian midfielder Roland Putsche was brutally hacked down against Free State Stars – a tackle that could have ended his career – but it was Putsche who received a yellow card.

On Saturday, again, City got nothing from a one-eyed referee. 

While many will dismiss McCarthy’s comments, there is no doubt that the standard of officiating is an issue. And it’s not just about City, it affects many other clubs in the PSL too.

* Let me finish by paying tribute to 40-year-old Siyabonga Nomvethe. 

The striker announced his retirement from the game this week, having played for Chiefs, Orlando Pirates, Moroka Swallows and AmaZulu as well as Udinese, Salernitana and Empoli (all in Italy), Djurgården (Sweden) and Aalborg BK (Denmark). 

From a personal point of view, the retirement of Nomvethe signals the end of what I could probably call “my era”. 

I came up against teenager Nomvethe and his tricky strike partner Sibusiso Zuma when they played for Durban-based African Wanderers in the then-Second Division in 1994 – and, a few years later, in the PSL too. 

He is the last player in the PSL I could say I played against; there are no more left: I am, officially, old.



Cape Argus

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