JOHANNESBURG - Mamelodi Sundowns’ coach Pitso Mosimane praised controversial referee Victor Gomes but warned him to stop wanting to be the centre of attraction.
Gomes is infamous for his no-nonsense approach that leads to him stealing the spotlight in matches he officiates. He earned the nicknamed “Penaldinho” after issuing 11 penalties in four matches.
“Let me tell you something about Gomes, he is a very good referee,” Mosimane said. “Trust me. He is a good referee. He makes mistakes because he becomes emotional. He gets hyper in the match. You see it in the way he runs. No! You are not the centre of attraction. Stay low. He gets hyper and that’s when he makes mistakes.
"But in Africa, he is cool. Top! Because he knows what happens. You want to go to TP Mazembe or AS Vita (and be hyper)? You need to calm down there. That’s why Daniel Bennett comes out of that situation unscathed. He is calm. Gomes is calm in Caf. I want him to have the same approach in the PSL. I follow him. I want to see how he handles Caf. He is a good referee. He needs to keep his emotions in check. He needs a little bit of counseling.”
Mosimane denies that he said something untoward to Gomes last week in the Brazilians’ clash with Cape Town City at Athlone Stadium. Jingles was sent off after protesting Gomes' decision to award the Citizens a free-kick after Tebogo Langerman shoulder-charged Craig Martin off the ball.
“Gomes made history (by sending me off for the first time in my career),” Mosimane said. “The guy wants to always be the Man of the Match. He wants to be the centre of attraction.
"He wants that big game. He will have his collar up. Mr Ref, his car says. All those things. You have to give him space. Let him gloat man. It’s personal. He has to be a part of it. You have to check the background, look at his way of moving. That behaviour influences (his conduct during the match).”
The big question though is, is Gomes good for the game because at best he is decisive and at worst he constantly takes the spotlight away from the people that fans paid money to see.
“I don’t know,” Mosimane said. “I am in the stands for voicing my opinion on a shoulder-to-shoulder tackle. I didn’t swear at him. I never swear at the referee. I don’t swear at referees. You can ask all the referees. I could probably be a little bit louder. Louder is in relation to the game, the margin and what kind of a game it is.
"Those things add up to the intensity and the tempo of the game. Daniel Bennett makes his mistakes and he accepts that he made a mistake. I speak to Daniel and he accepts that 'coach, I messed up here. I was let down by my assistant in the game between Ghana and Uganda'. He accepts. It’s okay because who doesn’t make mistakes? Gomes thinks he is the golden boy.
"Football has humbled me and I have made mistakes. I don’t have an ego to say sorry. I can say sorry. He nearly sent Baroka to the first division when he interpreted the rules wrongly (in their match against Golden arrows last season). It was a big one. I thought he would show humility and accept (his mistake). But he doesn’t.”