TOM BWANA: Kenya Premier League Referees Criticised Unfairly

TOM BWANA: Kenya Premier League Referees Criticised Unfairly

“All those referees are substandard. They are dubious, a bunch of failures and retirees who cannot run a mere 50 meters sprint. James Kagere failed our basic refereeing test. A man like Amos Wanjala we suspended on integrity grounds. Nassur Doka’s hobby is failing Physical Endurance Test. Amos Ichingwa? Ha! Who’s that? I don’t know him.”

That is as astutely direct as a man can get when describing people he claims to know well.

And now everyone is singing the “hang the ref” song with Lord Mukolwe as the chorister.

Even underperforming coaches are hiding behind this line as an excuse for their under per displays. But even the fans have joined in.

It’s now standard; we don’t wait for match results after weekend action, all we want to know is which referee did what blunder in what match.

That’s all. We are all hounding and howling at referees as if it’s become our favorite pastime after backbiting.

We stopped watching European leagues in bars as we imbibe on drinks the Nicholas Musonye style. We are now talking about poor officiating in our league. Our football is growing!

But let’s be fair. Why are we so mad at the centre referees currently running the Kenyan Premier League matches?


Are they that bad? Look, what blunders have they committed? The argument is that the current crop of referees in the league is not FIFA certified thus are prone to these incessant goofs.

GMT Otieno, the head of technical committee at KPL recently asked us not to cry foul because even when the league had FIFA officials last season, complaints still cropped up.

So being a FIFA referee in itself is not enough to avert dissatisfaction. 

I honestly think we are being unfair in our anger at the KPL referees. They are amateurs as the federation calls them. So why the anger on amateurs, if we surely know they are?

Of course these referees are third grade, given that the FIFA referees are stuck with the FKFPL.

Instead of wasting time scolding whistle-blowing laymen, we need to put the KPL administrators to task and ask them why they have a league of top professional footballers playing under suspect officiating from the George Mwais of this world.

The FIFA-negotiated deal between KPL and FKF says the federation reserves the right to appoint referees.

I’m told the federation has asked the KPL to provide it with the fixtures so referees can be appointed, but the Rachier team has refused to do so.

I will not delve into who didn’t do what ,why, where. What is clear is that semi professionals are in charge of matches under the KPL’s authorisation and watch.

So relax, spare the referees all your anger and direct it to the right people.

The referees, deserving or not, have not invited themselves to the workstation, They were appointed by KPL, so you know who to blame. 


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