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Benni cries conspiracy


McCarthy tackles ref.

Benni McCarthy, coach of Cape Town City says that it seems as if his team is being victimised by PSL referees over a sponsorship dispute.

A FRUSTRATED Benni McCarthy hit out at referees and the Premier Soccer League (PSL), alleging that Cape Town City are being targeted because of their sponsorship that put them in hot water.

The Citizens are facing expulsion from the league as a worst case scenario in their case against the PSL for their shirt sponsorship with betting company SportPesa. It is alleged that the PSL never approved City’s logo with the betting company which means that displaying it is an act of defiance on the Capetonians’ part.

The Board of Governors agreed in September to take the matter straight into arbitration and skip the disciplinary committee hearing due to the serious nature of the case. A verdict is expected next month. The club’s chairman, John Comitis, insists that they have done nothing wrong.

“It’s difficult but not difficult in a sense that it’s hard to manage the team or plan against the opposition. The problem is with our refereeing,” McCarthy said as he reflected on his tenure as head coach for the first time.

“I don’t know if any of you watched the game (against Mamelodi Sundowns on Tuesday night) because it was a one-way street (in terms of which team the referee punished). That’s been the case for us in every single game that we have been involved in. I don’t know if it’s because of this (SportPesa sponsorship), now the league is trying to punish us.

“But in every single game, every decision is against us. So we aren’t just playing against the opposition but we are also playing against the referees.”

The last time McCarthy criticised a referee, calling Philip Tinyani a cow, he and the club were charged by the PSL. That hasn’t dampened the City coach’s fighting spirit and speaking out when he feels aggrieved. Ending the year on a high by beating Sundowns 1-0 in their backyard to go into the Christmas break in second place didn’t do much in terms of improving McCarthy’s mood.

“I am tired of being modest,” he said. “I am tired of not being able to say what I feel because you have to have respect for the officials. (But how can I respect them) when they don’t respect the coaches? They don’t respect our game. They kill players. But now you have to be modest and not have an opinion on that. No! I think that referees must also take responsibility because coaches get fired for their mistakes and not winning.”

McCarthy continued, “I am growing more grey hairs from fighting with the referees than from my kids or managing the players in my team. I hope that we stop going on TV to talk about the problem instead of resolving it. The referees that go there talk about the same thing every week and nothing gets done. That’s what I am tired of. It’s not a laughing a matter.

“It’s a shame that the game is going backwards because of bad referees. I know that people will say that you must stop complaining. The referees must also stop officiating badly

“Scotland and the cold are calling me. South African football is killing me. We are being targeted. It’s plain to see. You don’t have to be an intelligent journalist or cameraman to see. It’s week in, week out. It’s frustrating when the players put in the shift and they get outdone not by the opposition but by poor refereeing.”