SAFA pressured to introduce VAR in the PSL promptly

Following a string of sluggish officiating since the start of the 2023/24 campaign, the South African Football Association (Safa) is under pressure to introduce the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) system.

The most recent incident is that of referee Luxolo Badi alongside his assistants Kenny Mamegwa and Lubabalo Pitsha.

Badi overlooked two Kaizer Chiefs penalty shouts during their heated MTN8 semi-final second leg clash against Mamelodi Sundowns in Atteridgeville last Saturday.

The controversial decisions led to the heart-breaking elimination of Amakhosi, in what would have seen them play a dream Soweto derby final against Orlando Pirates at the Moses Mabhida Stadium next week Saturday.

This week, Safa’s head of referees Abdul Ebrahim confirmed that Badi has been placed on a four-week rehabilitation programme that is set to commence on Tuesday.

Poor decision making from match officials in the DStv Premiership have since loudened the calls for the VAR system to be introduced in the league.

Even African National Congress (ANC) Secretary General Fikile Mbalula has also jumped on the bandwagon, calling for introduction of the VAR to support the referees.

“Safa must introduce referee technology support capacity called VAR. Referees are human too,” he tweeted.

Badi’s incident was not the first officiating blunder this season, as referee Siyabonga Nkomo and his assistant Thamaga Sebati had to run for cover after the final whistle, when they allowed a dubious late winner for Moroka Swallows during their league clash against Sekhukhune United recently.

Deep into stoppage time with the score deadlocked at 1-1, Swallows striker Gabadinho Mhango charged at a mundane cross and pushed the Sekhukhune goalkeeper Badra Sangare, who had initially grabbed the high ball, into the net with the ball.

However, Nkomo allowed the goal to stand, which ultimately cost Babina Noko a point that may come in handy for them later into the season.

The duo was also placed on a rehabilitation programme of about 16 weeks for their costly error.

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