Some coaches in the Nhabe region and the Northern First Division have raised concern over the conduct of some referees and fourth officials who they accuse of incompetence and favoritism.
The coaches have lamented that the conduct is affecting the growth of football in the region, and the country at large as it negatively affects the football vibe and love for the sport by players and supporters alike.
In an interview, Maun United Terrors head coach Didi Galebue said they have been victims of poor officiating which has cost most teams in the Maun stream wins that could have won them trophies and qualified them to upper divisions.
Galebue also claimed that referees and their assistants often fail to accurately spot incidences which often result in players wrongly red carded.
“These referees should be trained so that they can be relevant with the new developments in the game of football, otherwise we will have incompetent referees and that will affect our leagues,” he said.
He further claimed that the grounds that are chosen for matches by the referees are not of good standards, adding that the fixtures are also unfair to them. He has since called for the referees association to look deep into the their grievances.
Green Lovers head coach Baboloki Mokaba also shared the same sentiments, adding that the officials at their Saturday game against Sankoyo Bush Bucks cost them three points after their goal was ruled an offside.
“The goal that we scored was not an offside because our player came from behind defenders to score that goal and this has cost us in many games,” he complained.
Mokaba believes that they no longer play against teams but rather against referees who often disallow them good goals leading to losses or draws. He highlighted that the 0-0 draw against Sankoyo could have been a 1-0 win for them, had the referee allowed their goal.
He also called for the intervention of the Botswana Football Association (BFA) and Referee Association. Mokaba believes, though thinly-veiled, the correlation between the quality of football league and the quality of its referees does exist.
In response, Regional Referee Instructor Elliot Ntweng said he is yet to receive an official complaint from any team pertaining to poor officiating of matches. “I welcome anybody who feels disgruntled to file the claim for justice to be done rather than just to complain to the media or to the referees after matches,” he advised.
Meanwhile Ntweng highlighted that the friction between referees and coaches has been going on for a long time, adding that it is something that will not end, until the introduction of Video Assistant Referee (VAR).