By: CHRIS TOTOBELA
The weekend of 21-22 April was a very good weekend for local football fans at the JD Dlepu stadium. There were several games on show throughout the weekend, from both the Makana LFA and SAB Regional League, with every match producing some thrilling soccer action.
On Saturday, Newseekers defeated Joza Callies in their Makana LFA clash by 3-1, while Sakhulutsha and Eleven Attackers played a goalless draw in the local derby of SAB regional league. On Sunday Santos came back from 1-3 to level the score against Newtown City in their Makana LFA game which ended at 3-3. In the main game of the weekend, fans witnessed another great local derby when Sakhulutsha hosted Maru in the SAB regional league clash.
Both teams dished out very good football, with dangerous tackles flying all over the field, however, the referee kept his cards in his pocket and allowed the game to flow. It took Sakhulutsha eighteen minutes to open the scoring after the Maru defenders failed to deal with a high ball. Maru were punished by Asanele Nkatsha who headed the ball into the far post and gave his side the lead. Neither team managed to threaten the posts again in the first half, which finished 1-0 to Sakhulutsha.
Maru came out firing in the second half and put their opponents under pressure but were unlucky not to score. Sakhulutsha’s quick interpassing and skillful play troubled Maru’s defence, and they doubled the score when Sakhulutsha’s winger crossed the ball into the box and Abongile Mnika shot past the diving keeper. Maru never dropped their heads and kept on fighting until the referee blew his final whistle, confirming Sakhulutsha to be 2-0 winners.
The man of the match, Anele Hashe, said after the game, “they came strongly in the first few minutes but we managed to deal with them. We needed to win this game badly to improve our position on the log and I am happy that we have achieved that”.
Sakhulutsha coach, Siyabonga Masinda, was very critical of the referee, and made some controversial allegations. “My players did their job as they always do but the refereeing stinks to the highest level. The refereeing of the SAB referees is very poor. Yesterday we received a red card, and today we received a red card which I believe were pre-planned to distabalise our team. Both Hashe and Xabanisa are very important players in our team and are very aggressive which is why they were targeted”.
“The referees convener must come and watch his referees and see the damage that they are causing to football. Today the referee failed to send off a Maru player who used vulgar language against an assistant referee which is the same offence that Xabanisa was sent off for,” said Masinda.
Luvuyo “Biemba” Ntlanjeni, who handled the game and has been a top referee for years now, responded to the allegations made by Masinda. “We treat all the teams equally and we do not work for any team, we are only doing our job. It is a serious mistake to think that we are helping teams to win and I advise him to write to the relevant authorities to voice his grievances. We have never made any team lose deliberately,” said Ntlanjeni.