Players need more protection from the referees‚ says Benni McCarthy

Cape Town City coach Benni McCarthy reacts after one of his players was roughly tackled during the MTN8 1-0 win over Maritzburg United at Harry Gwala Stadium on August 12, 2018 in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa.
Cape Town City coach Benni McCarthy reacts after one of his players was roughly tackled during the MTN8 1-0 win over Maritzburg United at Harry Gwala Stadium on August 12, 2018 in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa.
Image: Anesh Debiky/Gallo Images

More protection for players from crunching tackles is what the Premier Soccer League needs from its referees‚ says Cape Town City coach Benni McCarthy after a frustrating physical battle at the weekend at Maritzburg United when two players went off with serious injuries.

McCarthy had a running battle with the match officials as he protested tackles on his players after Siphelele Mthembu was stretchered off with an ankle injury after a crunching tackle from Rushine de Reuck.

He was also not pleased after skipper Thamsanqa Mkhize was involved in an unlucky clash of heads with Bokang Tlhone as City won in Sunday’s MTN8 quarter-final.

“I had to manage myself! It was just the frustration of the referees waiting for someone to get seriously injured before they do something‚ you know‚" he said.

“I think that’s the one thing our game needs to step up.

"Why do we have a fourth officials who sees everything but doesn’t communicate to the referee‚” asserted McCarthy.

“There was a potential career-ending tackle on Shaka Zulu (Mthembu) but then the player only gets a yellow card.

"It was a bad‚ bad tackle

“These are little things in our game that needs improving.

"When coaches want protection for their players they get sent off‚ get three match suspension and you get fined.

"For what?

"For trying to protect your players?

"Because the referees and the officials don’t protect the players‚ then what will we have left?” he asked.

But he still had praise for the overall performance of veteran referee Victor Hlungwani who kept a lid on a potentially combustible clash.

“But that said‚ the referee was pretty good‚" he said.

"He handled the game well‚ he managed the game well and controlled things.

"So I’m not complaining about bad refereeing or anything‚ all I’m saying is I think he let a few Maritzburg players off the hook big time.

“If it had been the other way round‚ I would have had one or two players in the shower earlier.”

City beat Maritzburg 1-0 in their MTN8 quarter-final tie to book a semifinal meeting with Mamelodi Sundowns.

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