Saturday, December 2, 2023

English paper makes meal out Bondo ‘head butt’

Botswana’s finest match official, Joshua Bondo’s controversial confrontation with Angola’s Masuekama Natael has made news in the English media. 

“The Sprinter” as Bondo is commonly known in local football circles shockingly head butted the Angolan defender this week in an international friendly match that pitted South Africa against Angola.

In the game Bondo charged towards Natael after awarding a free kick to South Africa in a game that ended in a goalless draw. Just after Bondo pushed his head and overlapping hand towards Natael, the defender crashed down to the turf clutching his face. 

An English publication has now reported on the incident, under the headline: “Referee head butts Angola player in friendly vs South Africa”.

“This is not something you see every day ÔÇô a referee head butting a player during a friendly. 

“Botswana official Joshua Bondo, who is nicknamed “Sprinter” due to his high energy levels on the pitch, took charge of Tuesday night’s friendly between South Africa and Angola. The match ended in a goalless draw but Bondo provided the biggest highlight with his brief confrontation with Angola’s Masuekama Natael”, reads the article.

In an interview with Sunday Standard, Botswana Football Association (BFA) mouthpiece Tumo Mpatane downplayed the matter saying the confrontation was not anything intentional from the local official. 

“That was nothing much as Bondo was just signalling for the dead ball despite his hand slightly shoving past the Angolan defender. It is nothing much that could be blown out of proportion,” Mpatane said.

However, there has not been any official report communicated to the local referees’ committee with regards to the altercation that occurred during the match. The national referees’ committee spokesperson Edwin Senai revealed that despite being unaware of the matter; they noted that it will be uncommon for Bondo to behave in such manner.

‘’In this era, Bondo is regarded as one of the best officials in Africa with high work ethics and aiming higher. He has a big dream to feature in the best continental and world class tournaments. It is not easy for an official to reach the highest stage of officiating, so Bondo is aware of all obstacles that may hinder one to reach the level so he is disciplined to the highest degree,” Senai said.

He downplayed the matter saying nothing major could be charged against officials found in situations such as the Bondo case. 

“Officials as well are regarded as players in the field, so as much as players make mistakes and get penalised, officials as well may be penalised but in such cases nothing major will affect the official’s future. We will look closely in the Bondo matter and address it adequately. 

“He is our top official and has raised the nation’s flag high so we will continue to support and guide him well so that he achieves his dream to officiate at the World Cup at some stage,” said Senai.


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