Referee Hlungwani's voice reverberates around an empty Orlando Stadium

25 April 2018 - 22:54
General view of Orlando Stadium prior to an Absa Premiership match between Orlando Pirates and Bidvest Wits at Orlando Stadium on Wednesday April 25 2018.
General view of Orlando Stadium prior to an Absa Premiership match between Orlando Pirates and Bidvest Wits at Orlando Stadium on Wednesday April 25 2018.
Image: Sydney Mahlangu/BackpagePix

If there was one thing we learnt from the game behind closed doors between Orlando Pirates and Bidvest Wits at Orlando Stadium on Wednesday night, it was that referee Victor Hlungwani deserves his own talk show.

Without any spectators, the talkative match official held court with his quips, instructions and admonishments echoing around the empty stadium.

Almost every word could be heard and Hlungwani is a natural entertainer – with a whistle in his mouth and on the constant move to boot.

Not that it was a night that needed entertainment; four goals, 10 yellow cards and a missed penalty gave the television viewers something to enthuse over.

Security was so tight at the venue that there was not a single interloper in the stadium – only the club officials, media, TV crew, security and stadium workers.

It was eery but the quick tempo, steady flow of goals and constant flashing of yellow by Hlungwani saw the lack of any atmosphere quickly forgotten.

Of course, the way it turned out, it would have been a game ‘The Ghost’ would liked to have witnessed.

They would have reveled in the way their side bossed a limp looking Bidvest Wits, who have failed to defend their league title with any aplomb this season.

Without a crowd, it threatened to resemble something of a training match without the fans but it was anything but as the Buccaneers kept alive their title hopes.  

Whether the punishment proves effective, only time will tell. Did the fans suffer enough  not to repeat violent scenes in the stadium or did the fulsome TV coverage provide adequate compensation.

Maybe without the pictures it might have been a more effective punishment?


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