Home Sport Tanzanians cry foul but Sundowns focus on job at hand

Tanzanians cry foul but Sundowns focus on job at hand

198

In sport the winner celebrates and the loser always looks for excuses. And Yanga fuming after they went down 3-2 via a penalty shoot-out at Loftus Versfeld, following a goalless tie over the two legs, was par for the course.

Tebogo Mokoena (right) of Mamelodi Sundowns challenged by Bakari Nondo of Young Africans during the CAF Champions League 2023/24 quarter-finals match at Loftus Stadium in Pretoria on 05 April 2024. Oucture: Samuel Shivambu, BackpagePix

Matshelane Mamabolo

MAMELODI Sundowns are unlikely to pay any heed to the protest by Young Africans against what the Tanzanians believe was “administrative error and match-fixing” in the two teams’ CAF Champions League quarter-final tie on Friday.

If anything, the Brazilians would have immediately shifted their attention to Tuesday’s DStv Premiership clash away to Cape Town Spurs, while beginning to ponder their semi-final tie against Tunisia’s Esperance.

It is the nature of the beast — in sport the winner celebrates and the loser always looks for excuses. And Yanga fuming after they went down 3-2 via a penalty shoot-out at Loftus Versfeld, following a goalless tie over the two legs, was par for the course.

Their coach Miguel Gamondi crying foul afterwards was not surprising after the Champions League quarter-final newbies came within inches of pulling off what would have been a shock result, when Stephane Aziz Ki’s effort in the second half was ruled out.

“The people who were in the VAR destroyed the pride of Tanzania. Can anyone argue with me that we were not robbed? It was a clear goal – yes or no?”

The officials believed that it was not a goal — judging that the entire circumference of the ball had not crossed the line.

Now Yanga have written a letter to CAF in protest in the hope that an investigation into the officiating would be launched and that individuals found responsible for misconduct or negligence would be held accountable.

They are pleading with CAF to implement measures to prevent similar incidents in future matches.

It is very noble of them to think about protecting others from being “robbed”.

What is unlikely to happen, though, is for the result to be overturned and as such, bet on Rulani Mokwena getting down at work – if he has not done so already – studying their Tunisian opposition as he plots to add a second star above the Sundowns crest.

On the face of it, Esperance are going to be a much more difficult opponent than Yanga, just based on the north Africans’ pedigree.

The Blood and Gold have won the Champions League four times.

And given how Sundowns struggled to breach the east African side’s defence over two legs, the temptation would be to expect that they will have it much harder against Esperance.

But the South African champions have much more experience playing against quality sides of Esperance’s ilk in the continent’s premier club knockout competition and would know exactly how to handle them.

Strugglers in recent years in the Champions League, Esperance have had a stellar showing this time around as they have kept nine clean sheets in 10 matches. What would please Sundowns, though, is that Esperance do not score much, the Tunisians having scored just seven times in those 10 matches.

Ahead of the trip to Tunisia for the first-leg tie on April 19, the Brazilians face bottom dwellers Spurs in the league on Tuesday, before a Tshwane derby clash against lower division side University of Pretoria in the Nedbank Cup quarter-final at the weekend.

And there’s a league clash pencilled in for Tuesday next week against Moroka Swallows that could well be postponed to allow the champions to travel to Tunisia.

That’s way too many matches to plan for to have Mokwena and his team worrying about a protest lodged by an opponent sour at having been beaten, right?

Previous articleSocial media influencers use AI for spice
Next articleEmtee calls Tyla out for ‘lack of humility’ in viral tweet