JOHANNESBURG - Pitso Mosimane has made an audacious claim that there’s a conspiracy to prevent Mamelodi Sundowns, the reigning Absa Premiership champions and record holders with eight PSL titles, from reaching double figures.
Although not in the laws of the game, and far from standard practice, Mosimane believes that a 10th league trophy would earn the Brazilians another star above the club crest - the first having come when Sundowns won the CAF Champions League in 2016. Following their 1-1 draw at home against log leaders Bidvest Wits on Sunday, the coach claimed there was a plot to stop Sundowns from being the best in SA.
“We will win the title against all odds,” Mosimane said, furious at being denied a direct free kick when Wits goalie Darren Keet handled Sibusiso Vilakazi’s chip outside the penalty box. But the assistant referee failed to raise his flag and got a mouthful from Mosimane on the touchline, and shortly after the final whistle.
“Every week we are getting the short end of the stick. We are losing points, although we haven’t been playing well in some of the games. We don’t have to play very well to win. But it is tough times for us. When match management is different week in week out, we lose points,” Mosimane continued.
“Not to say that Wits were not the better team, they were. We should probably also benefit. I mean they scored a bogus penalty against Cape Town City when their player (Simon Murray) was never touched by the goalkeeper.
"But the player was punching the air after scoring. They also benefited today - the goalkeeper (Keet) was outside the box. They are now top of the log, but who cares? We keep dropping points. It’s unbelievable. When we played Arrows, Toni Silva was taken out in the box and the referee did not give a penalty. It’s going to be difficult for us, even though I still believe we will win the title.”
Mosimane referenced two other poor calls from match officials in previous Sundowns matches - last week’s goalless draw away to Bloemfontein Celtic - where Lebogang Maboe’s goal was disallowed because teammate Themba Zwane was in an offside position, but not interfering with play - as well as Cape Town City beating Sundowns 1-0 in the first leg of their MTN8 semifinal clash via an offside goal in August.
“I don’t know what’s happening. I am just asking myself, and it’s enough. This thing must stop. In Europe, when an official makes a mistake, he knocks on your door to tell you he made a mistake that cost you points. It won’t bring back the points, but there’s humility to say sorry. In SA, these guys are protected, they don’t say sorry and they are not accountable. Nothing happens to them, it’s a lost cause,” said Mosimane.
“The worst thing is that they can gang up against you. I am not saying they are doing it, but they can. I have seen that mentality. It would be nice to talk to the referees. But if I talk like this I know it’s going to take just five days before I get a letter from the PSL to shut me up. But people who were burning the stadium, how long did it take for them to get punished? Sundowns always have to swallow the hot potato. As long as I am in football we are going to fight for league titles until I retire. They want to stop me because the gap is getting too big now, I am a thorn in the flesh.”