'It is not cheating‚' says Mamelodi Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane
Bloemfontein Celtic coach Lehlohonolo Seema says the Mamelodi Sundowns players who deliberately picked up yellow cards in the Absa Premiership clash between the two sides at Loftus on Wednesday night did not do anything wrong.
Gaston Sirino‚ Hlompho Kekana‚ Sibusiso Vilakazi and Mosa Lebusa were sitting on three yellow cards and controversially went out of their way earn cautions on Wednesday in a deliberate ploy to be suspended for Sundowns' match against minnows Vaal University of Technology (VUT) on Sunday.
This means they will not be in danger of suspensions unless they are red carded when the last 10 matches of a tense league title run-in resume.
The four yellow cards came as a result of wasting time in the closing stages of Sundowns’ vital 2-1 over Celtic‚ a result that took the side to within four points of log leaders Kaizer Chiefs.
The other Sundowns player to be cautioned by referee Cedric Muvhali was midfielder Themba Zwane early in the second half but he will not be suspended against VUT.
“They didn’t do something that is not in the football rules‚” said Seema.
“They had a lot of players on three yellow cards they wanted to clear and there is nothing that we can do.
"We can only rely on match officials to give us enough optional time‚ it always happens that you want to clear players on yellow cards.
“If it was one player‚ we were not going to notice it‚ but it was four players and they continued to do it.
"In that moment it looked bad and it killed our momentum‚ but I can’t complain and say they wasted time.
"They had to do what they had to do because they know that we are in the last stretch of the league campaign.”
Mosimane admitted that it didn’t look good but he insisted that everybody is doing it.
“We have to be honest and understand we have a lot of yellow cards‚" he said.
"It didn’t look good and professional but everybody is doing it.
"You must tell me of a team that hasn’t done what I did. I am waiting to hear that person because I know my football very well. If you want to chase the league‚ you have to clear the yellow cards.
“It is not cheating‚ but it is part of the game and Celtic does it also.
"It is not delaying‚ what I don’t like is delaying with the goalkeeper having hamstrings.
"That one I don’t like and I don’t encourage in my team. You must remember that the referee has the option to add more time. He added about seven minutes and he acted right‚” said Mosimane.
Seema said he would would done the same thing had he been Mosimane's shoes.
“If I have seven players on three yellow cards‚ I will have to clear them‚" he said.
"I will have to find a way of doing it. Maybe they (Sundowns) feel that they will be able to put a better team to compete against their next opponent‚ so why not.
"You have to box smart as a coach‚ it’s like a game of chess. You do your checks and balances if I can you these words.”