An open letter to a man not doing his job

Dear Victor Gomes, I know that I am a bit late in writing this, since open letter season has passed.

But I have never been much of a man to follow trends, so I’ll go ahead and write this letter to you anyway.

Being a referee has to be one of the toughest jobs around, more so in South Africa where the men who do it have other jobs. Refereeing for most of your colleagues is a side job, which is why it’s unfair to expect you to be brilliant at it without proper support and compensation.

Congratulations on the Referee-of-the-Year award you picked up last season. I know my congratulations are belated, but I feel that award has played a role in your performance this season. You have been described as a headline-grabbing referee, having given 11 penalties in your last four matches.

That wouldn’t have been a problem had all those penalties been legitimate. The last one you handed out to SuperSport United is a case in point. Sameehg Doutie clearly dived in front of Wits goalkeeper Moeneeb Josephs.

But you didn’t see that. You awarded a penalty and didn’t book Josephs, as you should have. That’s the inconsistency that is making you the most disliked man in local football. The people who fork out their money to watch the game aren’t there to see you.

You see, a referee is there to control the tempers and make sure there is fairness. The best referees are the ones who are never noticed. They do their job with minimum attention drawn to themselves. Sadly, you have failed in this regard and that has to do with that award.

I know that getting such recognition makes you want to repay the faith of people who gave it to you. In looking to do this, you have tried too much to please them, ending up infuriating everyone.

I admire your guts. That’s something referees need in abundance. Handing out five penalties in one match must take nerves of steel. It would have been even better had they all been legitimate.

One man, Mamelodi Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane, who also showered you with praise for your guts, said that two of the three penalties weren’t legitimate.

There isn’t a referee who is universally liked, it’s part of the job. But there are referees who are respected and sadly for you Mr Gomes, you are losing that respect.


Njabulo Ngidi.




today in print

today in print