Remembering Louis Benoit's services to football and cricket
The recent passing of Louis Benoit, well known as Zaboca, brought memories of his services as an official in football and cricket. His death came as no surprise as he had been ill for a long time.
Louis carried the whistle and wore the long coat as an umpire in the days before the referees' and umpires' associations were formed. But let no one believe that he was not a competent official. He officiated in the days when referees and umpires were difficult to find due to the level of disrespect shown to them by players and spectators alike, but he held his own and on some occasions reacted in a manner that would seem inappropriate to the protocol of an official especially in football.
Who will ever forget the scene after a football match that Benoit officiated when he awarded a penalty in the closing minutes of the match? At the final whistle when he was leaving the field he noticed that a large crowd of spectators was following him angrily and expressing their dislike at the decision. On reaching the stand pipe where there was a heap of stones, Louis rushed on and picked up a stone. The crowd readily dispersed thus allowing him to leave the park unharmed.
One would have thought that he would have given up officiating; but not Louis. He continued until he made up his mind to go.
Louis was by no means a sportsman but he served football and cricket as on official at a time when his services were most required and for this reason I would like, on behalf of the referees and umpires associations, to extend deepest condolences to his family and friends.
May his soul rest in perfect peace.