Was right to book Mhlongo

Meshack Motloung

Meshack Motloung

A yellow card shown to Mamelodi Sundowns defender Benson Mhlongo by referee Andile "Ace" Ncobo during the Brazilians' Telkom Knockout game against Free State Stars, sparked debate among players and fans at the weekend.

Ncobo, one of the most experienced and world renowned whistlemen, cautioned Mhlongo for lifting the ball from the ground with his foot and heading it to his goalkeeper, Brian "Spiderman" Baloyi during the epic semifinal at a packed Kimberley Stadium on Sunday.

Mhlongo was mystified and did not believe his eyes when his name went into the referee's book. Apparently he was not aware of a rule, which Ncobo says has been in effect for the past five seasons.

"The player was not supposed to pass an aerial ball back to his goalkeeper because the goalie, who is his teammate, was not supposed to touch it with his hands," said Ncobo.

"What Mhlongo did was a deliberate trick to buy time and it is called circumvention. He was circumventing the laws of the game. That is why he was punished. I was delighted when it happened because as a tutor I thought players must also learn the laws of the game."

Ncobo said he explained the rule to baffled players from both sides after the game .

Safa Technical Committee chairman Phil Masemola was happy with Ncobo's decision.

"Ncobo impressed me tremendously because he was 100 percent correct in showing Mhlongo the yellow card. These are some of the things players need to know," he said.

Masemola said laws that were amended were:

l That an opponent was not allowed to stand 2m away from a thrower during the throw-in, because that does not allow the thrower enough space to swing the ball;

l The colour of a jersey or shirt worn by a player should be the same as the garment the player is wearing underneath;

l Players must not reveal under- garments that contains slogans, advertising, political, religious or personal statements. The referee will not caution the player, but will report the matter to the competition organisers or Fifa;

l A player will be cautioned when celebrating a goal by making provocative gestures, removing his shirt, covering his face or head or putting a mask on; and

l If a player gets injured the referee must stop the game immediately to attend to the injured player. A physio, doctor, an ambulance and paramedics must be on stand-by.