CAPE TOWN - Kaizer Chiefs supremo Kaizer Motaung has reached out to midfielder Happy Mashiane, who inadvertently became an object of scorn after his red card effectively signed the team’s death warrant in the Champions League final last weekend.
Several experts weighed in heavily on the red card debate and felt that it contributed to Chiefs’ eventual 3-0 defeat at the hands of Pitso Mosimane’s Al Ahly.
The charismatic Motaung has over the years cut a fatherly figure for many in the Amakhosi family, and it was no different when he showed the 23-year-old Mashiane compassion in the aftermath of the red card saga. Chiefs stalwart goalkeeper, Itumeleng Khune, once described Motaung as “the Mandela of South African football”.
“Unfortunately, the red card defined the outcome of the match,” said Motaung.
“These kinds of defining moments happen in the games of this magnitude. I thank the players, the technical team and the entourage that undertook the journey to the final.
“I want to take this special moment to encourage Happy Mashiane. Happy must take this as a lesson and an experience that will come in handy in his career.
“This is not his fault, and this must serve as a lesson to everyone in the team. We must realise that these things happen in football and life in general.
“Happy is still young and has a great future ahead of him. He is not alone – we are in this together.”
After a long trip, challenges, colourful and cultural experiences in the beautiful city of Casablanca, the Glamour Boys and staff arrived safely from Morocco this morning.— Kaizer Chiefs (@KaizerChiefs) July 21, 2021
We want to say a big shout out to the supporters who met us at the airport.Thank you for coming through❤✌🏾 https://t.co/6NYO56qw5H pic.twitter.com/QDmflzxQi6
Chiefs gaffer Stuart Baxter also rushed to Mashiane’s defence, saying the player allowed his frustration to get the better of him.
“The frustration grew with Happy,” said Baxter.
“We got him into the game early on and in situations where you think he’s good at. However, he let the ball get away from him. I think that frustrated him.
“Then he got smacked a couple of times. I think that frustrated him because he was chasing the ball late in the [first] half. I think all of that boiled over with him.”
Meanwhile, Chiefs finally returned from Morocco yesterday after the return flight to South Africa was delayed by two days. Scores of fans were at the airport in Johannesburg to welcome the team home.
“I am also quite aware that the travelling team has faced challenges to travel back home due to the flight concerns,” said Motaung.
“This has been a great effort from everyone. I am appealing to all of us to understand that the journey continues from here.
“It is not always plain sailing in any journey, but we must believe that one day we will achieve our objective.”
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