By Carlos Kambaekwa
Local football whistle-blowers are up in arms and say they certainly don’t appreciate the shoddy treatment meted out to them by what they termed self-centred football administrators’ ostensible constant interference with their professional duties.
At the centre of the storm is the referees’ refusal to allow two teams trotting onto the field of play in identical playing gear, which would make their task extremely difficult as they would not be able to distinguish players from opposing ends.
A clearly irritated leading FIFA accredited referee who spoke to New Era Sports strictly on condition of anonymity for fear of victimization, charged:
“When we went into the cloak rooms for our customary inspection routine ahead of the Blue Waters/Hotspurs encounter, we found that both teams were kitted out in clashing colours and requested them to find alternative kit, but our humble plea fell on deaf ears.
“To our amazement, some members of the Organizing Committee (OC) told us to shut up and instead instructed the teams to come out of the dressing rooms, but we refused point-blankly to officiate, an exercise that led to the match being delayed unnecessarily.”
In a similar incident, the match between defending champions African Stars and Oshakati City was also delayed because of clashing colours – the making of the OC’s unwarranted interference.
Eventually City had to play in borrowed outfits from Tigers, but the scenario left a bitter taste in the mouths of aggrieved match officials.
“The rules are very clear – the visiting team must change its playing gear should the match officials deem the colours to be clashing as was in the case of Blue Waters, but they refused to adhere to the rules despite the fact that they could fetch alternative gear which I believe was a stone’s throw from the stadium,” fumed the match official.