Referee Soweto Derby

Ace Ncobo questions referee Jelly Chavani’s decisions. Image: twitter @AceNcobo

Ace Ncobo says controversial Pirates penalty was ‘Spot on!’

Ace Ncobo took to Twitter to provide clarity and insights into the penalty decision that went against Sekhukhune United in the Nedbank final.

Referee Soweto Derby

Ace Ncobo questions referee Jelly Chavani’s decisions. Image: twitter @AceNcobo

Premier Soccer League general manager, Ace Ncobo said this week that the penalty that was awarded to Orlando Pirates in the Nedbank Cup final was a correct one.

The penalty incident during a Nedbank Cup final between Pirates and Sekhukhune United at the Loftus Versfeld on 27 May. Referee Thando Ndzandzeka awarded a penalty for a handball committed by Victor Letsoalo during injury time of the first half.

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Ace Ncobo defends decision to award Pirates a penalty

While Letsoalo was on the ground appearing injured, Thembinkosi Lorch attempted to dribble past him but Letsoalo handles the ball in the 18 area. A penalty call was made and Pirates converted from the spot to make it 1-1 at half-time.

The Buccaneers will go on and win the game 2-1.

The penalty call sparked debate among football fans; some said the referee was spot on while others said the call was incorrect and Sekhukhune were robbed.

On his Twitter account, Ncobo, who who officiated at the 2010 World Cup, explained why the referee’s decision was correct.

“It is an offence if a player deliberately touches the ball with their hand/arm, for example moving the hand/arm towards the ball. When I analyze every single decision of the referee, I derive my analysis from the laws of the game. It is always my point of departure,” Ace Ncobo emphasised on Twitter.

Here’s his breakdown analysis;

1. A Sekhukhune player goes to ground after colliding with a teammate. The Referee correctly does not stop play because there is no question of serious injury requiring immediate medical attention. (Keep this note: an injured player takes no further part in active play).

2. A Pirates player gains possession of the ball very close to the Sekhukhune player on the ground. The player on the ground registers his involvement in active play by kicking the ball with his foot, whilst still on the ground. This action nullifies any notion of injury.(This “no injury” is reinforced a few seconds later when he stands up without having received any medical attention seconds after the penalty is awarded.

3. When the attempt to kick the ball away from the Pirates striker fails, the Sekhukhune player, still lying on the ground, reaches out with his arm and deliberately handles the ball. The referee and assistant simultaneously see the infringement, as seen by the almost negligible time between the time the assistant referee raises his flag and the referee blows for the infringement.

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4. The Pirates striker sees the handball but, on the spur of the moment, thinks that the touch by hand may not have been seen by the match officials, attempts to kick the ball towards the hand/arm of his opponent. This attempt fails as the ball strikes the thigh of the player on the ground. I must mention that, even if the attempt had been successful, the Ref would’ve simply ignored the “handball” created out of circumventing the Laws via a deliberate trick to create an infringement. I have read a huge number of comments from people who claimed that the Pirates striker should have been punished for“kicking the ball against an injured opponent”, yet the truth is that, even if he had done that and it was illegal, it would have come AFTER the deliberate handball.

“In conclusion, the decision to award a penalty was Spot On!”  Ace Ncobo concluded.