Mbombela haunts Mosimane

2015-04-12 15:00

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Is Mbombela Stadium the place Mamelodi Sundowns visit to surrender their league title chase?

There has always been something about coach Pitso Mosimane and this particular stadium.

It was at this very venue in 2011, while still in charge of Bafana Bafana, that he led a dance of shame – under the mistaken impression that the national team had qualified for the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations. It turned out they had got the rules wrong – much to their chagrin.

Mosimane was at the centre of yet another shameful scene this week when he led a vociferous Sundowns protest after their last-minute goal against Mpumalanga Black Aces was disallowed. The game ended in a 1-1 draw.

The defending champions needed three points to keep the pressure on log leaders Kaizer Chiefs, who have now sprinted to a 10-point gap after their narrow win against AmaZulu on Thursday.

This week’s results mean Chiefs can lose two games and still be in the pound seats to win the title. They only need three victories from their remaining five games to seal the title, even if Sundowns do not drop any points.

An infuriated Mosimane blasted referee Thabo Nkosi for his officiating, saying the whistle man stole the show and deserved to be man of the match.

Mosimane seems to have thrown in the towel on the league title chase, too, even though his players still believe in themselves.

He conceded Mbombela Stadium could be the place where Sundowns’ championship race ended. “If the title is gone, then you know how it has gone. Some things are not in your hands,” said Mosimane during a post-match interview.

Chiefs now hold their own fate in their hands, while the Brazilians are on a wing and a prayer. Chiefs might be in pole position, but can they cope with the pressure that comes with being ahead of a chasing pack?

They will need to draw on all their experience in their next two matches, against the University of Pretoria and Polokwane City, before their top-of-the-table clash with Sundowns on April 29.

However, they will be without their number one goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune, who is serving a two-match suspension after being sent off on Thursday.

The past few weeks have shown that beautiful football does not matter in the final games of the season – it all comes down to getting the coveted three points.

All the teams are focusing on banking good results rather than playing well.

.?Meanwhile, Sundowns captain Alje Schut may have distanced himself from criticising match officials in public – but this might not spare him the rod.

City Press has reliably learnt that the Premier Soccer League (PSL) might throw the rule book at the Dutch defender, after he allegedly confronted officials after the team’s 1-1 draw with Aces. It is believed the Downs captain was spewing bile as he followed the officials, including the match commissioner, into the tunnel after the game.

The source said the officials recorded the incident in their report and handed it to the league. But on Thursday, a remorseful Schut was quoted by the PSL as distancing himself from criticising referees in public.

“Like I said, there is emotion and passion. I would never publicly criticise the referee,” read the PSL’s Twitter feed, quoting Schut.

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