It is a common practice in sports like rugby. When a player commits a professional foul, he or she is sent to the sidelines or the sin bin for a short period, mostly ten minutes before they can join the game again.
Sin Bins may not be part of football yet, but as referee Gilbert Leteane may now be fully aware, that does not mean the referees cannot be sanctioned for misdemeanour.
In the aftermath of his sub-par performance during the Mascom Top 8 match between Jwaneng Galaxy and Gaborone United, as well as the league match between Extension Gunners and Gilport Lions, Leteane has now been sin binned, literally speaking.
The Mascom Top 8 encounter between Galaxy and GU, which was played at the Galaxy Stadium in Jwaneng was blighted by some poor officiating and the home team benefited a goal from an unpunished foul.
In the aftermath of the game, some sections of the GU supporters bayed for the blood of their team coach Nikola Kavazovic, while social media was abuzz with condemnation of the referee’s performance.
The Gunners against Gilport Lions match witnessed aggrieved players surrounding Leteane during the match to protest his officiating.
It is said that Leteane’s sanction was imposed by the Botswana Football Association (BFA) referee’s committee.
It has been revealed that the punishment was warranted following negative publicity the scenario had hogged as a result of poor refereeing. In their efforts it is said that the purpose of the sanction is not to destroy match officials but to put in strict measures that also includes rehabilitation for affected referees.
On resumption of Leteane’s official duty, the match official will officiate in the lower division league of the Debswana first division. It is said that a senior match official will be assigned to monitor Leteane’s performance for a few matches before he could be resuscitated to the elite BTC premiership.
Speaking to Sunday Standard this week, referee’s manager Phodiso Rasetsoga confirmed that they have taken action against Leteane as he will be on rehabilitation following recent performances of the referee. He however said they have not side lined him as he will be going for rehabilitation before returning to officiate in the elite league.
“We have been monitoring Leteane as much as we do will all match officials and decided that he needs assistance. He will be going for rehabilitation with a sports psychologist who will advise us on the next step. We will then asses him at the lower division as he will be observed by some senior referees. It is part of the game that at times referees make mistakes as much as players do make mistakes and we believe that he will come back stronger,” said Rasetsoga.
Narrating on how they asses match officials, Rasetsosa said: “We look into how they apply and interpret the rules. It is also critical that they understand the importance of the technical and physical aspect of the game as the ability and fitness comes with the positioning so as not to compromise decisions. There is a lot to do with match officiating as we also work as a team. We look into the calibre of games before appointing a referee and his assistants. Experience is very key and also the importance of bringing on board youngsters is another factor that we always look into as they also need guidance.”