Mokwena mum on MTN8 penalty controversy

football08 October 2023 09:03| © Mzansi Football

Mamelodi Sundowns coach Rulani Mokwena refused to be drawn on the controversial refereeing decisions that went against his team but made it clear he was unhappy with calls from Abongile Tom in Saturday’s MTN8 final that might have swayed the outcome.

“I hope it will be on Monday,” he said in reference to SuperSport’s popular Extra Time programme where controversial refereeing decisions are regularly examined.

“That discussion I hope is on Monday. I'll be listening and watching.”

Sundowns had several claims for a penalty, including a handball by Bandile Shandu and a late tackle in the penalty box by goalkeeper Sipho Chaine, before going on to lose to Orlando Pirates in a post-match shootout at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban.

But the handball was not given and referee Tom adjudged that Chaine had been impeded by Sundowns striker Peter Shalulile before the clumsy tackle by the Pirates’ keeper.

“I have to bite my tongue a little bit. I have to try very hard to not say anything,” Mokoena added after first praising the efforts of his own players but also the winners Pirates.

“Let's start by congratulating the opposition for being crowned champions. I think it's only proper. Let's also mention how proud we are of our players’ gallant effort.

“We created incredible chances. We had a very good situation with Themba Zwane. We had a very good situation with Peter (Shalulile) and then Pirates I think had one chance. We just have to dust ourselves off.

“We could have won in the 90 minutes but unfortunately we didn't so, when we don't then the coach must take responsibility and I am the first to put my hand up and accept the blame,” Mokwena added.


“Let’s focus on the positives, which are that this team always tries its level best to win and it will bounce back. It's a difficult one to stomach but we'll bounce back.”

He added that the ferocious wind that swept from one side of the field to the other, ensured a tough evening for the players.

“The conditions were quite difficult and even the pitch was not the best and quite long and heavy and slow, even though they tried to water.

But it sounds like sour grapes when you speak about conditions when you don't win.”

But Mokwena did highlight the absence through injury of Lucas Ribeiro and Thapelo Morena and the fact that Shalulile played with an injury.

“With Ribeiro, the medical team tried very hard to get him back but it wasn't to be. They worked very hard also on Peter, who picked up a knock in the week. He showed unbelievable selflessness.”