Match officials attract Mngqithi's ire after Sundowns' stalemate against Swallows
Manqoba Mngqithi was not happy with the performance of the match officials during Mamelodi Sundowns' league game against Swallows FC at the weekend and did not mince his words as he gave his assessment of their handling of the encounter.
Mngqithi felt that referee Thando Ndzandzeka should have awarded Sundowns at least two penalties during the goalless draw‚ and opponents Swallows should have got a spot kick of their own towards the end of a match.
The Sundowns coach was also not pleased that some of the Swallows players escaped punishment after delivering a few crunching tackles‚ and he singled out the likes of Thabo Matlaba and former Sundowns player Lebohang Mokoena as the main culprits.
“This is one match where I feel the officials didn’t play their part‚” Mngqithi said. after the champions added a point to their 60 that saw them wining the league title for the fourth time in a row on Wednesday.
“There were many leg-breaking injuries that I saw… tackles that were flying all over.
“The first one was Cheeseboy (Mokoena) on (Aubrey) Modiba‚ another one was (Thabo) Matlaba on Vila (Sibusiso Vilakazi) and the other was Mothobi (Mvala) against Cheeseboy (Mokoena).
“Those are leg-breaking situations and you’ve got two penalties where Peter (Shalulile) was fouled in the box‚ and Vila was fouled in the box.
“You go to the opposite side and you see the same thing. There was a clear penalty at the end of the match that Swallows should have got. I’m not talking penalties that must come to Sundowns only.
“I’m just saying the officials have a responsibility to make sure that they protect the players and run the game properly. But [on Saturday]‚ honestly speaking‚ I don’t think the officiating really served the purpose.”
But Mngqithi admitted that with the six changes they made to the side that beat SuperSport United 3-1 to clinch a fourth league title in a row on Wednesday‚ Sundowns perhaps played below what is normally expected of them.
“I think it was a very good match and in the first half Swallows had a very good build up. They forced us [to play] on the back foot. But towards the end of the first half we started putting our first foot forward and pushed them‚” said the Sundowns coach.
Mngqithi dismissed talk that he used the fringe players against Swallows‚ pointing out that only goalkeeper Reyaad Pieterse‚ who came on for the injured Denis Onyango‚ was playing his first match this season.
“I was happy with Reyaad and I think he really played well as a goalkeeper‚” said Mngqithi.
“Everyone else is somebody that has had some game time during the season. Reyaad is one person that we wanted to see and I think he really gave a good account of himself.
“We also brought in Hash (Hashim Domingo) later and he really did very well. Vila also played very well.
“In general I would believe we gave a good account of ourselves‚ though maybe we didn’t create a lot of clear-cut scoring opportunities. There was one that Peter (Shalulile) got which I thought he should have buried.
With Sundowns wrapping up the season against Bloemfontein Celtic away on Wednesday and Cape Town City at home on Saturday‚ where they’ll be officially handed the championship trophy‚ Mngqithi said they will continue to use the players that are fit for the game.
“We’ll always use players we feel are ready to play [in a particular match]‚” he said.
“The players we gave chances to [on Saturday] are the players we believed could do the job.
“It is just unfortunate that they didn’t do the job.
"But I would not say we were playing with fringe players because most of them have played a lot.
“The only player that didn’t play is Reyaad‚ but the rest of them have had some game time.”