Red card rebel

2010-04-04 12:21

MAMELODI Sundowns bad boy ­Mabhuti Khenyeza, who was red-carded for a record third time this season against former club Kaizer Chiefs last week, not only faces ­possible punishment by his club, but has also put paid to his chances of representing South Africa in the World Cup.

On Friday, Khenyeza told City Press he was ready to face the consequences of his actions, but launched a scathing attack on Premier Soccer League (PSL) referees.

The player’s infamous “Hand of God Gone Wrong” in his club’s loss in the Telkom Knockout quarterfinal last weekend elicited the wrath of the Safa referees’ committee.

The controversial marksman faded from the Bafana Bafana set-up after failing to turn up for the Confederations Cup and later went AWOL ahead of the friendly games against Japan and Jamaica in November.

After being omitted from the ­Bafana camp to Brazil, it is unlikely the 27-year-old – a former under-23 international – will get any further games to impress national coach Carlos Parreira.

With only the Nedbank Cup left this season, the striker will now miss four matches – some of which might only be next season – due to the accumulation of red cards.

Parreira himself has indicated that no ill-disciplined player has a place in his team and Khenyeza’s latest episode could have shut the door completely.

But the wayward player is playing victim and said he was ready to answer for his sins.

“I apologised to the coach (Trott Moloto) and I told him I am ready to accept any punishment from the club. I am ready to face the DC and I’ll tell them that I did not do it on purpose. In fact, I haven’t broken any players’ leg,” he told City Press on Friday.

Then he vented his anger: “I am targeted by the referees. They ref (officiate) s**t and no one is saying anything about them. Yes, I’ll say it over and over again: they ref s**t.

“My markers always get away with murder as they kick me around in the game and it irritates me that I am the one who picks up the yellow cards at the end of the day.”

Khenyeza said he was “sick and tired” of people who labelled him “arrogant” or “bad boy” and that these “are people who have issues with me”.

“I was raised well and taught to respect other people. But I respect people who respect me,” he said.

As for his doomed Bafana career, he said: “I can’t complain about the past except to say I am one of the supporters who wish Bafana well in the World Cup.”

Safa’s referee committee chairperson Alpha Mchunu described the striker’s deliberate handballs as “very unprofessional” and “undermining the professional league”.

Mchunu was also quick to advice clubs to make an example out of players such as Khenyeza.

“If I was his team, I was going to mete out a serious punishment. What he did was very childish and disrespectful to his colleagues and opponents,” said Mchunu.

The hot-head Sundowns striker is set to appear before his club’s disciplinary committee following his second red card in two months, coach Moloto confirmed.

He refused to say whether there was some immediate action to be taken against the player, instead saying: “He must sit down with the club to put his side of the story.”

So far it’s only the PSL’s rulebook that spells out what will happen to the KwaZulu Natal-born player.

According to the rules, he will ­automatically sit out the next four official matches.

While Moloto said he could not pre-empt the likely sanction, he said he was disappointed by the player’s conduct. “Any manager would be disappointed by a behaviour like that and of course I am (disappointed) especially from a professional like ­Mabhuti.”

With one more cup competition before the the current campaign finishes, Khenyeza faces the risk of seeing his suspension overlap into the 2010/11 season if Sundowns are knocked out early in the Nedbank Cup.

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