Gomes fills Bafana spot in the World Cup

Referee, Victor Gomes during the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations Afcon Finals Quarterfinal match between Senegal and Equatorial Guinea at Ahmadou Ahidjo Stadium in Yaounde, Cameroon on 30 January 2022 ©Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

Football fans around the world will be glued to their televisions as the FIFA World Cup, which will be hosted by Qatar in the coming weeks, begins.

While others will be watching their countries, South Africans must look for countries to support because Bafana Bafana were defeated by Ghana in the last World Cup qualifier.

Instead of Bafana Bafana, the South African Football Association (Safa) will send three men to FIFA, the world football governing body. The experienced referee, Victor Gomes and his assistant, Zakhele Siwela, and a doctor, Thulani Ngwenya.

South African fans are concerned about the national team’s poor performance because it last qualified for the World Cup in 2002, when it was hosted by Korea and Japan. Instead, men who blow the whistle like Victor Gomes in football represent South Africa.

As the start of the world’s largest tournament approaches, Safa hosted an official farewell luncheon in Johannesburg earlier this week. Gauteng Premier Panyaza Lesufi was present, as were Safa vice presidents Natasha Tsichlas and Linda Zwane, who were accompanied by senior Safa officials Lydia Monyepao and Walter Steenbok.

Gomes is said to have blown the final whistle in his South African football career at the end of October in a match between Orlando Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs at the FNB Stadium in Soweto.

According to reports, Gomes, 39, plans to retire as a referee after the FIFA World Cup to focus on his business in Gauteng. This is unconfirmed information, but no one has denied it. CAF officials are said to be determined to convince him to stay because he is one of the referees assigned to CAF Super League matches. After the World Cup, everything is expected to be clear.