Ill-discipline rules as PSL DC proves utterly clueless

Although a judgement in Mamelodi Sundowns' star attacker Gaston Sirino's disciplinary matter was finally reached on Thursday, the writer wonders why it dragged on for so long in the first place.
Although a judgement in Mamelodi Sundowns' star attacker Gaston Sirino's disciplinary matter was finally reached on Thursday, the writer wonders why it dragged on for so long in the first place.
Image: Sydney Mahlangu/ BackpagePix

If the Premier Soccer League's disciplinary committee had some bite, Pitso Mosimane would not have publicly admitted to having instructed his players to pick up yellow cards in Wednesday's match against Bloemfontein Celtic.

Several Mamelodi Sundowns players - including Gaston Sirino, Sibusiso Vilakazi and Hlompho Kekana - time-wasted on purpose with the sole intention on being booked, so as to miss Sunday's Nedbank Cup clash against Vaal University and start subsequent matches on a clean slate.

A resort to such tactics cannot be condoned as it clearly goes against the spirit of fair play. The final minutes of Wednesday's otherwise enterprising match were reduced to a circus, something for which Downs coach Mosimane apologised in the end.

But would he accept a similar apology from that notorious time-waster, Elvis Chipezeze, the Baroka goalkeeper, who repeatedly rolls on the floor whenever his team appear to have secured a required result?

The only way to prevent such instances is through strong disciplinary process which, unfortunately, the PSL doesn't have. Cases, if they do make it before this hopelessly ineffective DC, take too long to finalise. Such timidity has served to encourage ill-discipline and unsporting behaviour all around.

For instance, it has been 154 days since Sirino committed "assault", according to this DC. Sirino was charged for an on-field incident involving Clayton Daniels, of SuperSport United, during Sundowns' MTN8 semifinal second leg on September 18 last year.

But it was only on Thursday evening that the PSL announced he'd been found guilty. Heaven knows how long it will take for a sanction to be imposed!

Little had been heard of the case for a while, with PSL's freelance prosecutor Nande Becker occasionally throwing tid-bits in the media about what the outcome might be. He had told us last month that Sirino could face a four-match ban.

Contrast the Sirino matter with that of Mpho Makola of Cape Town City, who was initially banned for six months, also for "assault". Makola was charged on October 19 2019, with the outcome released less than a month later, on November 15. Why would the Sirino matter drag on for so long?

We would be reluctant to blame those who accuse Becker of using DC processes to influence the title race, because this is the third year running that a matter has dragged on for so long under his watch.

To start with, Sirino, a very important player in the Downs arsenal, should in no way have been charged with assault for what was a fairly innocuous clash with Daniels. Even the referee on the day applied common sense and warranted it a yellow card offence.

If Becker was seeking relevance by dramatically charging anyone with real assault, he should have looked no further than Maritzburg United's Gabriel Nyoni. The Zimbabwean appeared to aim a kick straight at Peter Leeuwenburgh on City in a league match two weeks ago.

The City goalkeeper has not played since, having been stretchered off with a severely bleeding wound to the head. Nyoni, meanwhile, has returned from a two-match suspension, without Becker’s useless DC uttering a word.

Expecting the PSL DC now to act decisively on deliberate time-wasting, in the same manner that Uefa did when Sergio Ramos, of Real Madrid, was found to have hankered for a yellow card in a Champions League match against Ajax Amsterdam last year, would be like attempting to draw water from a stone. By the way, Fifa rules make provision to escalate an intentional booking to a further one match ban. 

The PSL DC, basically, exists only in name.

*This column was updated following the PSL statement on Thursday evening.

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