CAPE TOWN – The increasing brutality and violence, especially gratuitous studs-up tackles, are becoming a serious source of concern for the PSL.
To put it bluntly, it’s the bane of the local game and it needs to be addressed, sooner rather than later.
There is so much that is positive about local football – but, somehow or other, it’s always the negative that gets accentuated.
The problem is perhaps that football administrators allow problems to fester, which is why the issues often spiral out of control.
Think about it: we should really be focusing on Cape Town City’s much-anticipated MTN8 semi-final second leg clash with Mamelodi Sundowns in Atteridgeville on Sunday (3pm).
But instead, the main topic of conversation is Free State Stars' captain Paulus Masehe’s horror challenge on the Cape side’s Austrian midfielder Roland Putsche.
City and Stars played to a 2-2 draw at Goble Park in Bethlehem on Wednesday, but the match was overshadowed by the host’s overly-aggressive tactics.
Masehe went in high on Putsche, with a crunching foot-up tackle that made for painful viewing, but he got off scot-free. Putsche could hardly walk afterwards and, yet, he was the player handed a yellow card.
City coach Benni McCarthy played down his anger during the post-match interview because he has been in trouble with the PSL before, but club owner John Comitis pulled no punches.
“I am absolutely livid,” said Comitis. “It’s not that Putsche was given a yellow card for being a victim, but also he was clearly targeted for special attention by the opposition.
“The tackle was definitely malicious and, at the moment, I am looking into perhaps trying to do something about it – there was definitely a clear intent to do bodily harm to the player.
“It’s just outrageous. The PSL cannot keep burying its head in the sand. As an organisation, we need to have a platform to have a look at such incidents after the match, and make sure there are repercussions for the culprits. We cannot have this in our football, it’s a disgrace.”
City take a 1-0 lead going into the second leg against Sundowns on Sunday, but Putsche is in a race against time to be ready.
“The doctor said my leg is not broken and, for me, that is the most important,” said Putsche.
“As it stands, if I am able to run and I handle the pain, I will be able to play.
“I am on medication now and the medical staff is trying to speed up the healing process. If it will be possible to play, I really can’t tell at the moment.
“If there’s any chance, believe me I will be on the pitch. But, right now, we will just have to wait, and see.”