Floodlight failure halts Santos-Stars clash
Platinum Stars and Santos will resume their Absa Premiership match at 4.25pm on Thursday at the Mmabatho Stadium where the lights failed during their Wednesday evening encounter.
The game was interrupted just before the half-hour mark when the floodlights went off. Prior to kick-off, the lights dimmed and the game kicked off three minutes late.
After an hour of darkness, the clubs’ officials, together with veteran Premier Soccer League (PSL) match commissioner Steve Goddard, were informed by the stadium’s management that the floodlights would not go on again. The PSL rules stipulate that both clubs have to wait for three hours for the floodlights to come back on for the game to continue, but in this case the three-hour waiting period was ignored.
A lengthy debate then followed about the time the match should kick off.
Stars were happy to kick off at 3:30pm or even 4pm, but Santos apparently wanted to play the game at night and at one stage even suggested the match be moved to Rustenburg’s Olympia Stadium.
Between Goddard, PSL GM Ace Ngcobo, Stars PRO Putco Mafani and Santos COO Edries Burton, the matter (of kick-off time) was discussed for nearly 90 minutes.
“They are being ridiculous, they are scared to play us during the day,” a Stars official said. “It makes sense to play during the day because then we won’t have the risk of lights going out.”
According to Mafani, the Bafokeng-owned club requested that the match be played during the day, but the PSL insisted that it should be a night game.
“We asked for the match to be played during the day but the PSL rejected our request. Apparently the reason for the rejection was so that the game could be showed on TV, but as you can see there is only one camera here to capture highlights,” a peeved Mafani said.
“This game was not scheduled to be on TV and that is why we asked for it to be moved to an afternoon kick-off. And as you can see there are no TV crews,” he added.
The visitors’ coach, David Bright, just wanted to get on with the game.
“This is affecting the players badly. We were supposed to head home after the game but now we have to stay. We have to play this game and we will, but this is not a good situation for both clubs,” the former Botswana Army major said.
Santos planned to travel back to Cape Town by bus immediately after the game but because of the blackout had to rebook at their hotel in Mafikeng.—Sapa