- Mamelodi Sundowns will keep the Nedbank Cup after a SAFA arbitration ruling.
- This is despite the Brazilians having fielded ineligible Tebogo Langerman on their team list.
- The club is, however, slapped with a record R500 000 fine.
Red-faced and with a record R500 000 fine lumped on Mamelodi Sundowns over including the suspended Tebogo Langerman in their team list for the recent 1-0 final win over Bloemfontein Celtic, SAFA's arbitration ruling has left the Nedbank Cup trophy firmly in the hands of the Brazilians.
Sundowns' hefty fine was confirmed by PSL prosecutor Nande Becker, who acted for the League at the SAFA arbitration hearing at which decisions on the Langerman case were taken.
In the process, the now-entrenched, affluent and effective glamour club of the PSL completed an imposing hat-trick of three major titles alongside the League Championship and Telkom Knockout Cup during the testing coronavirus, interrupted 2019/20 season.
Sundowns, in addition, chalked up another memorable record by becoming the first team to annex the Premiership in three successive years on two occasions and cementing billionaire Patrice Motsepe's club as the dominant soccer force in the country at the moment.
And, to emphasise the point, the Brazilians almost casually accounted for erstwhile former top dogs Kaizer Chiefs with a 3-0 victory when the newly-sponsored DStv Premiership was launched over the weekend.
Langerman, who was little to blame for the controversy that erupted around him, has had a further two games added to his existing suspension, with one of them of a suspended nature.
But reverting back to the Nedbank Cup decision, it could easily have ended in a deflating and embarrassing calamity had SAFA's arbitrator followed a different course and declared Celtic the trophy winners - something which was within the realms of the PSL rules in spite of the Bloemfontein club lodging a late protest.
It was even suggested that it was only because of Motsepe's aura and Sundowns' stature that the penalty evolved into a huge fine - if not by the club's own immense financial standards - for what was a totally needless indiscretion and motiveless action by the Brazilians.
But there were a couple of valid arguments in favour of the Nedbank Cup not being snatched from Sundowns' grasp, among them that Langerman did not participate in the final and remained throughout on the substitute's bench.
It invariably leaves a bad taste in the mouth on most sporting occasions when a losing team is declared winners, particularly as on this occasion when Langerman played no part in the proceedings.
Also, Sundowns wisely pleaded guilty in naming Langerman as a potential substitute for the final, with club administrator Yogesh Singh declaring it had been an oversight that the player was already under suspension for accumulating the required number of bookings.
Who at Sundowns was most culpable for the offence is debatable. But when coach Pitso Mosimane, who has since departed to accept a similar prestigious post with Egypt's Al Ahly, was asked at the press briefing after the Nedbank Cup final why Langerman's name had appeared on the team list in spite of his suspension, the long-serving, successful coach replied: "Why are you asking me?"
The coach, certainly, was not blameless and a better answer might have been "all of us!"