Chaos at Sasol League match as players assault referee.
High drama unfolded at the Sasol League Gauteng decider between Mamelodi Sundowns Ladies and Palace Super Falcons on Saturday. Falcons players and supporters assaulted the referee after a string of controversial decisions cost Falcons a place at the national finals. Needing a win to book their spot at the national finals in Nelspruit later this year, Falcons lead 1-0 for much of the game until referee David Nkuna sent off Simangele Mhlongo, and then awarded Sundowns a late free kick from which they equalized to earn the point necessary to win the Gauteng stream of the Sasol League. Nkuna received a flying kick to the chest as emotions boiled over and Falcons players attacked Nkuna and his assistant, accusing him of favoring The Brazilians.
Palace chairman, Bob Maredi blasted Nkuna and his assistant for their poor decisions and bemoaned the number of cautions and yellow cards his charges received. Maredi said he would lodge a complaint with SAFA, in particular about what seemed like an eternity of referee’s optional time added by Nkuna.
“Before the game started, I phoned the head of refereeing, Vincent (Ramphago), he didn’t answer. I wanted to know how they can send just two people for such a big game. The assistant referee was pathetic. Half of our players got yellow cards.” he says.
Although Banyana Ba Style benefited from the dubious refereeing, coach Jerry Tshabalala admitted that the officiating in the league needs to be improved.
“Honestly speaking the standard of refereeing in women’s football is destroying our football. Teams and coaches work hard to improve but only to find that referees spoil what the coaches have worked on,” he says.
Tshabalala suggests that SAFA should take the blame for providing only two officials for a match between fierce rivals.
“I would also put the blame on our association especially the referees department. When you know that you have got such a big game, you can’t just have two officials? What do you expect?”