The recent emergence of aggressive and perhaps over-the-top tackling appears to be on the increase in the PSL.
A spate of injuries has occurred with certain teams being more affected than others.
In last Tuesday’s match against Mpumalanga Black Aces, Orlando Pirates midfielder Mpho Makola appeared to be lucky to escape a broken ankle after a debatable mistimed lunge by Clifford Ngobeni. The offence went unpunished by the referee.
Onyekachi Okonkwo also seemed to stamp on Pirates defender Rooi Mahamutsa earlier in the clash in what appeared to be an unprovoked act. Such an act is generally punishable by a red card, however the Nigerian escaped serious censure.
Additionally, Maritzburg United’s Ruben Cloete recently suffered a fractured cheekbone after a dangerous collision with Platinum Stars defender Vuyo Mere.
In a recent clash between Bloemfontein Celtic and Mamelodi Sundowns, Hlompho Kekana seemed lucky not to suffer a broken leg after what looked to be an over the ball studs-up lunge by John Arwuah. Unbelievably, Arwuah was not even yellow-carded for the incident.
The most recent Soweto derby was also a game characterised by aggressive tackling and tempers that flared out of control.
Blood was spilled in the clash and at times it appeared as if someone was in danger of suffering a really serious injury. Perhaps it's true to say that more than one Bucs player was fortunate to escape some questionable tackles by Chiefs’ enforcer, Willard Katsande.
With the PSL reaching heightened levels of competitiveness, it begs the question – are our players being protected by referees?
In the English Premier League it has become standard that any semblance of an over-the-top tackle will be punishable by a red card.
It’s clear that the safety of the players has become a priority for officials in that country. Is it time for South African referees to also be held accountable to the same high standard?
Why not have your say. Do our players need extra protection from match officials to curb the emergence of rough tackling? Is enough being done to keep our players safe?