Birds manager blames refs for on-field injuries

Meshack Motloung

Meshack Motloung

Moroka Swallows' general manager Sipho Xulu yesterday did not conceal his concern at the disturbing rate of players who got injured on the field of play and said this unsportsmanship should stop.

Xulu, the long-serving Swallows official, has put the blame squarely on the shoulders of match officials.

His reaction came after their trusted forward, Sandile Ndlovu, became the latest casualty in the fast-growing dangerous tackles or head butts from the opponents.

Kaizer Chiefs striker Tshepo Bulu, who was elbowed by Maritzburg United defender Gary Goldstone a week ago.

Ndlovu was admitted at the Brenthurst Clinic after he collided with Ajax Cape Town defender Nhlanhla Tshabalala during their Absa Premiership game at Olympia Park Stadium in Rustenburg last Wednesday night.

The Birds striker will be on soft food for up to four weeks as a result of the pain and will be out of action for eight weeks.

"It's disturbing when one of your trusted players is out of action for a long time. It's up to the man in the middle to see to it that such incidents do not occur during the game. Now we'll be without our goal-scorer for some time and that will force the coach to change his plans in the next game."

Ndlovu said Tshabalala butted him with his head when they were tussling for the ball, but said it was not intentional. He underwent surgery last Friday.

"He hit me with his head on my lower jaw but it was not intentional. Tshabalala is a fine player and wouldn't do that purposely.

"It's unfortunate on my side because I will be out of action for more than eight weeks," he said.

Swallows' medic Humbulani Ephraim Nematswerani is concerned with the injury suffered by Ndlovu. "The injury is very serious because he sustained a fracture of the mandible (lower jaw). The right side of the lower jaw is badly swollen, he can hardly move the jaw up and down.

"We did an operation on him on Friday where a plate and screws were inserted. Obviously, they will be there for ever.

"He's out for eight weeks and will not engage in a contact sport. He is also going to be on a fluid diet," said Nematswerani.

"Tshabalala called Ndlovu last week and was very sorry for what happened . I know him well, he's not a bad boy at all," he said.

PSL prosecutor, Zola Majavu, said he was not aware of the incident but he will check it.