Sundowns teach Wits a lesson

BidVest Wits coach Roger de Sa shook his head in frustration after his 10-man Students were beaten 1-0 by title chasing Mamelodi
Sundowns in an Absa Premiership clash at Atteridgeville’s Super Stadium on Tuesday night.

But he was philosophical and believed his Students would rise to the challenge of getting Wits back onto the winning path and away from the relegation zone they now find themselves in.

The defeat plunges the Clever Boys deeper into the relegation quagmire, while the three points ignites ‘Downs’ late title challenge.

The Students are stuck on 21 points and have now gone 11 matches without a win.

Said De Sa: “Our next three games are crucial. We have to start turning the corner.

“Everything is going against us, but there is no time to feel sorry for ourselves. We have to go out and pick ourselves off the floor.”

The Students next three games are against Moroka Swallows at Milpark on Saturday, away to bottom club Jomo Cosmos (at the Vaal Technikon) and at home to Golden Arrows.

But De Sa refused to let the fact that his top striker Calvin Kadi had what looked a good goal disallowed in the 19th minute by referee Victor Hlungwane for offside, and had his captain and defensive strongman Tefu Mashamaite sent off for a professional foul on Downs’ goal scorer Katlego Mphela in the 57th minute, get him down.

It took the big spending Brazilians until the 85th minute for Mphela to net his 13th goal of the season and earn a fortunate 1-0 win and three valuable points.

However, a black mark goes against temperamental Sundowns coach Hristo Stoichkov, who gave the media a run around by ducking and diving the post-match media interviews.

The former Barcelona star may be of the opinion that the media can wait until he is ready, but nobody—including the “great” Stoichkov—is bigger than the game in South Africa.

When approached for the obligatory post match briefing, the former Bulgarian coach brushed past the media but then said: “Give me five minutes to speak to my players.”

But he proceeded to talk to his security people and chat with De Sa and Wits officials before going into his dressing room and by that time the media had left.

Stoichkov is infamous for his temper tantrums. Last Tuesday he refused to speak to the media after the match against Santos was rained off with Sundowns leading 1-0.

Stoitchkov’s lack of co-operation was reported to the Premier Soccer League on Tuesday night.

While it was De Sa who had every right to be grumpy, he was amiable and got his media interviews over with straight after the match.

All coaches are obligated by the PSL’s rules to do post match interviews after every official fixture. Failure to do so means a disciplinary hearing.

De Sa had no complaints over the match official sending off his captain Mashamaite, who deserved his punishment for pulling down Mphela who was moving into a scoring position.

But De Sa was not pleased about Kadi’s goal being chalked off: “I was suspended and fined [R50 000] recently for making a mistake in that I had a go against a referee.

“What punishment does this ref [Hlungwane] face now that he has made a bad mistake which could have cost us dearly. We are fighting for our lives and that goal could have changed the game for us.

“Surely the referee will be punished and made to apologise like the PSL made me do when I made a bad mistake.”

But De Sa said that the rush of blood from Mashamaite was the end of a brave fight: “Until the sending off we were more than holding our own. It is difficult playing Sundowns with 11 men, never mind 10.

“It was a tough ask and we found ourselves under a lot of pressure.”—Sapa