JOHANNESBURG – Fresh from guiding his Kaizer Chiefs team to a 3-2 victory over archrivals Orlando Pirates, Ernst Middendorp has urged match officials to adjudge mistakes without fear or favour.
In recent weeks there has been talk that Chiefs are in part top of the PSL standings due to decisions by the referees going in their favour.
Since then referees, who have officiated in Chiefs’ matches have been under the microscope from the PSL and opposing coaches, notably Mamelodi Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane.
In Saturday’s Soweto derby, where emotions are expected to boil over, the referee, Thando Ndzandzeka, needed to be strong.
In the 83rd minute, Pirates conceded a penalty after Paseka Mako clumsily tackled Bernard Parker in the area.
Daniel Cardoso stepped up and ensured that Chiefs bagged the three points, and subsequently their first league win in the derby in five years; that took 10 points clear at the summit.
Pirates coach Rhulani Mokwena, whose team’s form has been patchy under his guidance, was left unhappy with the decision, accusing Parker of simulation.
Middendorp was having none of it, saying Ndzandzeka had a call to make and, according to him, he made the correct decision.
“One on one belongs to soccer, and one on one is a way to show that you are winning and losing. And that is why over the decades, the institution of Fifa introduced yellow cards, fouls, penalties and all sorts of things,” Middendorp said.
“And that is why the battle between Willard Katsande and Fortune Makaringe was a heavy duel, there’s no doubt about it.
“It’s not to be denied, and I spoke to Eric (Mathoho after getting a red card) and he said he was trying to protect the group. And in this moment, somebody falls.
“And now I don’t think when it’s a foul in the penalty area (action shouldn’t be taken), what should the referee do?
“Go first to the opponent coach and ask should I give or phone someone to ask if it’s right? I think it was a very clear penalty and foul.”
Soon after the penalty was converted by Cardoso, and Pirates were on the brink of losing their first league match to Chiefs in five seasons, tension boiled over at the FNB Stadium as Mathoho received his marching orders after a scuffle with Abel Mabaso.