Sibongiseni Gumbi
Football Writer
2 minute read
14 Jul 2020
8:47 pm

Ace Ncobo’s message to Safa – REFEREES ARE READY!

Sibongiseni Gumbi

Former referee Ace Ncobo has come out all-guns blazing to dispute Safa’s statement that the whistlemen will need at least two weeks to get back to physical fitness and be able to officiate Premier Soccer League (PSL) games. 

Ace Ncobo (Photo by Duif du Toit / Gallo Images)

On Tuesday, Safa sent out a statement saying it has been decided that the referees will take two weeks to get ready and the games can only resume at the beginning of August.
Ncobo, who retired some years ago and is now an analyst at SuperSport TV, says the referee’s have been working hard to keep their fitness during the trying times of Covid-19 enforced lockdown.
“From a person who mentors a significant number of referees let me place this on record: Referees never stopped training. Never stopped social distancing to the point of self-isolation. Testing them for fitness requires one day. Testing for Covid-19 requires 48hrs. Referees are ready!,” Ncobo wrote on Twitter on Tuesday evening.
“Maybe there are other referees because the ones on the panel love what they do. They may commit errors but they respect their calling. They knew the day for resumption would come and kept themselves ready,” he added.
Ncobo suggested that Safa are being petty and using the referees to fight their own battles with the PSL.
“They must find other reasons but must never ever pour cold water on the tough efforts of these young men and women who’ve been working hard under difficult conditions to keep fit and away from infection. Don’t insult them when you fight your own battle. Referees are READY!”.
The former PSL Chiefs Operations Officer, who briefly also ran for Safa president a few years ago, said he is confident the referees would pass the fitness tests even if they were to be held tomorrow.
“Take them to a fitness test tomorrow and more than 90% of them will easily pass, just like is usually the case even without covid-19 that some may fail, but never insult their efforts by saying they’re not ready. Referees are READY!”.

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