Mamelodi Sundowns coach, Pitso Mosimane, once again, set tongues wagging with one of his quotable quotes in a post-match interview after his side’s impressive 2-1 win against Black Leopards last Wednesday.
The Chloorkop-based club’s head coach couldn’t contain himself from talking about the poor referees’ decisions that seemed to benefit certain clubs over others. In fact, a great game of football that his players had just won was almost clouded by the mentor’s comments that Kaizer Chiefs benefitted from the referees who consistently award them penalties.
Jingles was not impressed with the fact that his side was not awarded the penalties he felt were legitimate calls and winning against Leopards wasn’t going to stop him from making his feelings known.
We all know how the former Bafana Bafana mentor always tries to play mind games with the opposition. This is something he’s had no match on. We all know what that comment is likely to do. Get a reaction from Chiefs, put them in a corner to ‘defend’ themselves and therefore losing their cool and focus on their good start to the season, while the match officials handle Chiefs games knowing very well that they are under a lot of scrutiny. The first instinct will be to prove Mosimane wrong by not awarding Chiefs any penalties, deserved or not, which means Chiefs would be at a disadvantage. That wouldn’t be fair play at all. The bottom line is that Amakhosi are enjoying a great run of form and when it is your time, it is easy for the dice to roll for you, while when it is not, misfortune has a tendency of following you around. Ask AmaZulu and they will tell you all about it, especially in their 2-0 loss to the same Amakhosi.
The match officials have not covered themselves in glory at all so far this season and that should be concerning for everyone involved in the game. It is therefore unwise to reduce it to just one club being ‘favoured’ when these bad calls are playing themselves out against all the teams. It would also be great if those who benefit from these bad calls let it be known that they were lucky to get away with them.
On the other hand, it is always refreshing to hear coaches genuinely expressing their feelings without sugar-coating anything. Mosimane’s comments have been met with mixed feelings, with some believing the coach is just playing mind games, while others have accused him of selective memory. What is for real, though, is the fact that what’s good for the goose is good for the gander. There’s no space for double standards and if coach Mosimane complains about the referees, then it shouldn’t only be when the dice has rolled against him. Recently, his player, Gaston Sirino, got away with murder in the MTN8 semi-final second leg against SuperSport United when he slapped Clayton Daniels and Dean Furman, which resulted in a lousy yellow card when in fact a straight red was warranted. Coach Mosimane said absolutely nothing about the ref’s poor handling of the incident.
When Mosimane complained about Cape Town City defender and captain, Thamsanqa Mkhize’s tackle on Keletso Makgalwa, he slammed the Bafana defender in no uncertain terms. Yes, the tackle was rather uncharacteristic of Mkhize and layered with malicious intent. However, there was little to no difference between that tackle and the one meted out to Xola Mlambo by the same Sirino last season and his coach never uttered a word about it. Imagine if coach Mosimane lashed out at his own player for a rough tackle and even imposed a fine on him for a career-threatening tackle on a fellow professional. That would send a strong message not only to his own players but every footballer and that would earn him much more respect. Yes, he has a duty to protect his players but, more importantly, he has an obligation to be a leader in the Beautiful Game. It is for that reason that I found his comments to be off-tune because they are self-serving. This comes from someone who has been accused of holding a brief for the 55-year-old coach.
He got his reaction from Chiefs football manager, Bobby Motaung, last weekend when he called the Sundowns coach ‘obsessed with Chiefs’. It looks like the battle lines have been drawn. With the Shell Helix Cup this weekend, it will be interesting to see how the two teams handle the occasion. Games between these two teams are no longer just like any other fixture. There’s more competition especially with the two teams enjoying a great run of form. The recent player movements between the two clubs have created a strong rivalry between these two giants. Until recently, Sundowns always dominated Chiefs in the transfer market, but that’s a thing of the past as Amakhosi have been able to prize away some of the star players from Sundowns. That will always be a bitter pill to swallow.