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Bondo’s faulty whistle

Publishing Date : 24 September, 2018

Author : MOSIMANEGAPE TSHOSWANE

Botswana’s best performing referee, Joshua Bondo is reported to be seeing his ‘African whistling future’ slowly fading following a brigade of calls and complaints about his continental officiating.


After officiating in a game between Senegal and Madagascar, the former, through their football federation, are planning to reject the Botswana referee should he be assigned any of their matches in future. In fact, they intend to write an official complaint to CAF on the matter.
Senegal strongly believes that they were denied a clear penalty in an AFCON qualify game that eventually ended in a 2 all draw.


It was not the first Senegal had criticised Bondo’s officiating. “We are planning to challenge this Botswana referee next time,” Federation of Senegalese Football (FSF) president Augustine Senghor was quoted as saying. Bondo’s  ‘poor’ officiating follows that of last year’s COSAFA edition. In 2017, Bondo was sent home from the COSAFA Cup tournament after controversially handling Zimbabwe’s match against Madagascar.


COSAFA referees committee said Bondo performed below par last year and was sent back home for poor officiating. Ironically, the same month, Bondo received the honor for best referee on home soil. His star allegedly came crumbling down when he officiated in a game between Zimbabwe and Madagascar. The said match ended in a goalless stalemate. Bondo was heavily criticised by Zimbabwean media for what they called ‘diabolic’ refereeing.


It is said the Botswana referee erred by not awarding Zimbabwean National Team two penalties. “COSAFA, who have a zero tolerance on bad officiating, wielded the axe on Bondo after reviewing the referee’s pathetic performance which marred the group Group top-of the- table clash between the Warriors and Madagascar that eventually ended 0-0,” report claimed before Bondo was shown the door.


Joshua Bondo was duly criticised across the COSAFA region and also on the continent for his poor show. It was said that the regional body’s referees committee that is using the tournament to develop match officials from Southern Africa stuck to their principle and took a last resort to punish Bondo. The last year’s performance is believed to have cost Bondo a place at this year edition of COSAFA, but it is indeed ironic considering the magnitude of games the Senete-born referee has officiated across the African continent.


He rose to stardom after he officiated an AFCON qualifier prime game between Ivory Coast and Mali in 2016. Contacted for comment on Bondo performance, the chairman of referees’ committee Eatametse Olopeng said, “If Senegal have a complaint, they know that they have to route it directly to CAF and not the association.”


He sees Bondo as the best referee Botswana has ever produced but admitted that the match official can make mistakes like any other human being.  The chairman is of the view that even when critiquing Bondo, a thorough analysis has to be done to examine if local referees are developed accordingly. Bondo is the only referee from this country to reach the Category B of worldwide match officials. The band consists of referees who will officiate only on the African continent, one notch away from the global stage.


Bondo started as a football player for his local club Hartlepool FC in the third division of the Selebi-Phikwe region. In a 2001 game while still at his local club, he got so angry with the referee and decided to quit playing football and become a referee. His refereeing career started in the lower leagues where he gradually rose to where he is now. Bondo was voted best referee in the 2007 Africa U17 tournament that was held in Namibia. Last year, it was Bondo’s   first appearance at AFCON Final tournament when he officiated in a game between Ghana and Uganda after officiating a series of qualification games.

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