I am not bothered: Koto
THE recently crowned Econet Premier League Referee of the Season, Osias Koto, says he is not bothered by the vitriol from the football supporters as long as he makes the right decisions.
Koto, who is the most criticised and probably the most loathed local referee, said his task is to ensure that football laws are interpreted and applied correctly instead of being popular with fans and team owners.
The referee told the Sunday Express after being crowned the Referee of the Season for the second successive year that he was happy with his consistency.
“I am proud to see that the panel is recognising the hard work that I am putting in,” Koto said.
“This trophy adds onto many more that I have won before and I am really proud of that.”
He said the refereeing job is very challenging and needs someone who is not afraid to take decisions as long as he believes that they are right.
“The difference is that with I am not easily intimidated by the teams and the supporters. I just do what I know is right. I know there are teams which like to intimidate referees but with me they won’t succeed,” he said.
Commenting on being the most resented referee, the 34-year-old referee said he is not bothered.
“As referees we are thoroughly trained on the interpretation and application of the laws but the problem is that supporters think they know the laws better and often they get it wrong. This is the reason for which they hate us but it doesn’t get to me because my conscience is clear because I am doing what I know is right. When I go to the match, I go with one intention which is to do what is right.
“Now we have new laws and already there are supporters who already think they know them better and we are still going to be faced with the same challenges. However, I am always proud of myself as long I know that I have interpreted the laws as they should be.
“But what I like is you will never hear supporters saying that I favoured any team, so I don’t mind them because supporters just talk and at the end of the day, they all expect their teams to win.”
Koto admitted that referees face the temptation of being bribed but said they also have trainings on how to deal with such issues.
“I for one have been faced with such challenge I think it was back in 2012 where one team approached me and tried to bribe me but I refused and reported them. From then, all the teams know that they can never come to me with money. Besides, I am a police officer, so I cannot do that.
“We also go on trainings on how to deal with such incidents especially us the FIFA panel referees. We know that should one get caught, they risk ending their career and given the amount money that we get when go on international duties, I don’t anyone would want to lose out on such money,” Koto said.
Koto attributed all his achievement to hard work adding that he never stops learning.
“I work hard. That is one thing that has helped me even during the off-seasons. I keep on training and reading the laws. I am one of the best when it comes to application and interpretation of the laws in this country and I am proud of that,” Koto said.