SuperSport coach Baxter could face PSL's wrath after describing a referee as "Pirates' best player"

SuperSport United coach Stuart Baxter. Picture credits: Gallo Images
SuperSport United coach Stuart Baxter. Picture credits: Gallo Images

SuperSport United coach Stuart Baxter might find himself in hot water with the Premier Soccer League (PSL) over a comment he made about an assistant referee being probably Orlando Pirates’ “best player”.

PSL communications manager Luxolo September said the league had “noticed” Baxter’s comment‚ but that he could not comment yet on whether action will be taken against the coach.

“Suffice to say we have noticed the coach’s comments. And at the moment there’s nothing I can say about it‚” September said.

Emotional immediately after the 1-1 Absa Premiership draw at Orlando Stadium on Tuesday night‚ Baxter was complaining about a hairline offside decision that went against Jeremy Brockie.

The SuperSport striker had the ball in the net soon after Thabo Mnyamane put the Pretoria side ahead in the 55th minute‚ but was adjudged offside.

“I thought the first half they flattered to deceive‚ apart from the linesman‚ who was probably their best player this evening‚” Baxter said in his post-match TV interview.

Baxter’s comment elicited a response on Twitter from ex-PSL and international referee Jerome Damon.

“Baxter should watch the replay first ... and the less we say about commentators the better‚” Damon tweeted.

He added: “A player is in an offside position if: any part of the head‚ body or feet is nearer to the opponents’ [goal]”.

Damon also posted a video clip that appeared to show that‚ while Brockie’s body was level with left-back Patrick Phungwayo‚ his head was closer to goal‚ which would appear to make the officials’ decision correct‚ though by the finest of margins.

Baxter was calmer in his assessment once he went to the post-match press conference‚ but maintained the decision‚ plus another unsuccessful penalty appeal where SuperSport believed Brockie was brought down by Ayanda Gcaba‚ were incorrect.

“I’ve seen the [replays of] the penalty and the goal they disallowed. I don’t know. I mean what can you say – [referee] Victor [Hlungwani] is a decent guy‚” Baxter said.

“I don’t think he blows on purpose‚ or doesn’t blow on purpose‚ and gets it wrong. He made a mistake – that’s it.

“And I think it’s a stick-on mistake. I think it’s a 100 percent penalty.

“I'm always am careful immediately after the game‚ with emotion running into a press conference.

“Because I’ve been burnt too many times‚ having a big mouth and then I see the replays the day after and they go‚ ‘Oh dear me coach‚ you were wrong‚ weren’t you?’ And I go‚ ‘Yes‚ I was’.

“But I’ve seen it and I think it’s a stick-on penalty. And if it’s not a stick-on penalty then Brockie should have received a yellow card.

“And I think that the goal they disallowed – I don’t think they understand how hard you work with attacking play.

“Attacking play is not very easy to coach. But that was a marvelous piece of attacking play.

“And I think that was so sad. Because once Pirates got their goal [by Thembinkosi Lorch in the 76th minute] then it was the charge of the light brigade.

“But until then I thought we were comfortable.”

SuperSport have seen their title chances fade with a 0-0 draw at home to Ajax Cape Town on Saturday‚ then the stalemate against Bucs. - TMG Digital

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