Mafani reacts to Sowetan article
Mafani reacts to Sowetan article

Posted in News on Sep 03, 2001.

Reaction on the Sowetan article: "Referee blows hot for 13-man Chiefs" of the 03rd September 2001, by Sipho Mthembu.

I have been following with interest the news reports following our Bp Top 8 victory over Sundowns on Saturday, 01 September 2001.

Somehow I was not that surprised when I read Sy Lerman's report on the Citizen, suggesting that referee Ahmat Salie 'spoiled' the Bp Top 8 Final. Somehow that artcle does not surprise me.

For record Chiefs acknowledges that Sundowns gave them a hell of a tough game, typical of a cup final. That was anticipated by the Chiefs technical staff and players, hence the mental fitness to absorb pressure and stick to the discipline of ‘fighting till the end’.

Observation No1 : The 3 or 4 ‘injury time’ minutes added by referee Ahmet Salie was not made available to Chiefs only but to Sundowns players, too. For argument’s sake, Sundowns could have scored a third goal during the referee’s optional injury time.

This phenomenon is an old rule of football that as long as the referee has not blown the final whistle, players and their coaches have a responsibility to stick to the discipline of the game, without a lapse in concentration or dedication.

This is a universal discipline of football and nowhere does my learned friend Mr Mthembu highlights this aspect of his observation, to ensure all objectivity in the approach of his story.

In my debate with him earlier today, he agreed that he had a choice to pick up whichever observation and leave any, that would not be suitable to him, so that he should ‘differ’ to Sunday papers, ‘cause that is what he wanted to achieve to ‘differ’ to Sunday papers. We agreed not to agree in this debate.

The second issue is that of the so-called penalty on Simba Marumo, the video material does indicate that the referee was spot on by waving play on, for Kubheka reached for the ball and not ‘hacked’ Marumo from behind as suggested by this ‘bias’ article.

I will leave that one for everyone to view the highlights tonight (Monday night) and make their judgements, but he is entitled to his opinion and must highlight that it is his OWN opinion.

On the same topic, sensing that there was bitterness on the two subjects, multi-award winning journalist Matshelane Mamabolo of the Star Newspaper went out of his way to research these observations and his article is a breather/educator to the reader.

In all fairness, I do not think it is ethical enough to let the subjective approach go on, in a game where there is a lot of education to be done to the public about the rules of the game and the tolerance and acceptance that should go with the results.

Instead I find such articles inciting and influencing unwanted behavior that emanates from intolerance and ‘unsportsmanslike’ bitterness, hence there are reports about isolated violent incidences that have cost supporters their lives.

Are these insinuations, what we hope to let the universal ‘gurus’ of the game read, come World Cup 2010, when everyone has no other but our own newspapers at their disposal? What are we doing to the game, what objectives do we have about the product we have in our hands as the only pride of the Black nation in sport?

Come on somebody, favouritism is living and probably natural, but let us not allow it to ruin the credibility of our work and make the game suffer a knock. It is a fact, Chiefs fought to the last minute and never gave up, thumps up for that fighting spirit! It is insulting to the Chiefs players who were sweating the whole time preparing for this cup final to read that they won with the ‘help’ of the referee, as suggested by Mthembu.

Love n Peace


PRO – Kaizer Chiefs

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