Home Sport CT City sees RED over ref cock-up

CT City sees RED over ref cock-up

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The PSL are always going on about Benni’s comments about referees in South Africa, but what else can he do when we regularly get poor decisions like that?

Cape Town City players confront the referee in their PSL game at the Cape Town Stadium. Picture: Ayanda Ndamane / ANA

For Cape Town City boss John Comitis, the fact that his club regularly has to bear the brunt of some really bad refereeing is a major source of concern.

On Tuesday night, after a 2-0 defeat to Bidvest Wits at the Cape Town Stadium, and after yet another shocking decision hurt his club, the experienced football administrator couldn’t contain his anger. Comitis is on the warpath.

The incident occurred in the seventh minute when City’s Dutch goalkeeper Peter Leeuwenburgh was adjudged by the match official to have fouled Wits’ Scottish striker Simon Murray. But there was no contact: it was clear to see from the stands, and television replays subsequently confirmed the City keeper had not touched the player.

Leeuwenburgh appealed to the referee that he wasn’t at fault. The referee remained adamant and handed the keeper a yellow card. Wits scored from the resultant penalty, got a second before half-time, and cruised to victory.

A few weeks ago against Free State Stars, midfielder Roland Putsche was the victim of brutal tackle but he got booked and the opponent got off scot-free. Those are just two decisions – there were more – and anger with referees’ performances have been a constant moan for Comitis and coach Benni McCarthy.

“I am livid,” said Comitis after Tuesday’s defeat. “This can’t go on any longer; something has to be done about it. After winning the MTN8, we charged supporters just R10 entry fee – and they came in their numbers. We had about 12 000 people on a cold, chilly Cape Town evening and the referee comes along to spoil it all. It was clearly no penalty, anybody could see that, but the referee didn’t. The PSL are always going on about Benni’s comments about referees in South Africa, but what else can he do when we regularly get poor decisions like that?”

McCarthy wasn’t prepared to say much about the referee. He was more concerned about the lacklustre display his team turned in after the MTN8 success. The City coach made eight changes to the team that started the final – and the decision had an effect on the team’s fluency.

“I have to apologise to the fans,” said McCarthy, “because we were just not up to it on the night. I appreciate their love and support and I was disappointed that the team turned in such an average, disappointing performance.

“I can’t make excuses. We were just not at the races today. I’m not sure if it was the high of winning the cup or just reality sinking in. We made mistakes and Wits punished us. They were there, they had come to play, and they were first to everything. They just wanted it more. They got the 2-0 lead and then they shut up shop – and it didn’t matter what we did we weren’t going to trouble them.

“For me, I will probably have to look in the mirror because changing the team completely backfired on me. Maybe I was a bit naïve to make so many changes and expect the same level of performance. In hindsight, perhaps I should have trusted my gut and played with more or less the same team as in the cup final.”

According to McCarthy, Wits deserved the victory, and he added that Gavin Hunt (Wits coach) had got the tactics spot-on.