CAPE TOWN – Highlands Park lost out on earning a point after Orlando Pirates striker Tshegofatso Mabaso scored what was clearly an off-side goal in his side's 1-0 league win at the Makhulong Stadium on Tuesday night.
Replays showed that Mabsasa had come back from an off-side position before turning goalwards and racing onto Linda Mntambo's pass before scoring what turned out to be the winner in the 80th minute.
The incorrect call is the latest in a series of controversial decisions made by match officials this season, and while some have left room for debate, others like last night's incident have clearly been wrong.
In fact, just last weekend da Gama's team were involved in two incorrect decisions in their 2-0 win over Chippa United, with both teams having legitimate goals ruled off-sides.
"Three metres off! Look at it! So it is very painful to lose for this. If this is going to continue in this country, our football is not going to go far," da Gama said after Tuesday's match against Bucs in Tembisa.
"Not to take anything away from Pirates, they played very well, they created opportunities, they are a fantastic team but that? Somebody must go to jail for that.
"That is wrong! You can't do such things! I'm sorry we had to lose in this fashion - we'll take it on a jaw once more, I thought the referee and the [other] linesman were superb, but the linesman on the far end, I think we need to look into this."
To make matters worse, Mabasa should probably not even have been on the park to score the winner, having escaped with only a yellow card for a very nasty over-the-top studs-up challenge on Highlands Park winger Lindokuhle Mbatha just 11 minutes into the game.
"A two-footed tackle and Mbatha never recovered from that," da Gama lamented. "He had pain, we put in spray, gave him an injection, but he couldn't take the pain off. A two-footed tackle like that, that is murderous, I mean you can end somebody's career like that."
While da Gama was doing his best to be diplomatic after the game, it was clear that his emotions were running high.
"You work so hard all week, you prepare, you analyse, just for a mistake like that to happen, I think that is shameful! Very shameful"
There was also an incident in the match between Mamelodi Sundowns and Kaizer Chiefs last weekend where Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane had felt that Samir Nurkovic had been off-sides when scoring the first goal in a 2-0 win for Amakhosi.
The South African Football Association (SAFA) review committee subsequently issued a statement to clarify that Nurkovic’s goal was indeed legitimate, while the Premier Soccer League (PSL) have now written a letter to Mosimane, giving him five days to either deny or admit the comments attributed to him in the media.
Earlier this season, assistant referee Mervin Van Wyk was suspended for a month after incorrectly ruling an AmaZulu goal offside in their match against Kaizer Chiefs.
The succession of controversial decisions is fuelling the belief that the PSL should consider introducing the VAR (video assistant referee) system.
African News Agency (ANA)