Marumo Gallants coach Dan Malesela, could be heard screaming “What is this?” to the referee when their late equaliser was disallowed, which maybe sums up the Limpopo side’s horror start to the season.
The 1-0 loss to Mamelodi Sundowns last night kept the team, popularly known as Bahlabane Ba Ntwa, rooted at the bottom of the Premier soccer league, with just nine points from one win, six draws and three losses.
Tempers boiled over in the Gallants camp, when referee Michael Mosemeng ruled their goal offside. Marumo players mobbed Mosemeng and his assistants Bongani Mnguni-Matete and Thabo Thinane, forcing security to escort the officials off the field at the end of the game.
With the benefit of hindsight, the referees seem to have got the decision around the controversial goal spot on. Even Malesela appeared to have climbed down from his earlier angry outburst, and refused to comment. The only comment on the ugly final whistle scenes came from Sundowns co-coach Rulani Mokoena who said he “was not paid enough to afford PSL DC fines”.
With the season taking a long break after 10 days, owing to the 2022 Fifa World Cup that kicks off in Qatar next month, Malesela’s charges have just two league fixtures against Cape Town City and AmaZulu, to claw their way out of the dreaded relegation zone.
Gallants who showed flashes of brilliance, in restricting the defending champions from Chloorkop to a 1-0 victory that came courtesy of a Sphelele Mkhulise strike, will hope to build on that performance in their Confederation Cup clash against Al Ahli Tripoli next month.
In midfielder Katlego Otladisa, workhorse Sizwe Mlindzo and left winger Pule Maraisane, there is certainly enough talent for Gallants to bounce back, under the guidance of the experienced Malesela.
Meanwhile, victorious Sundowns will feel somewhat emboldened, ahead of their top of the table MTN 8 semifinal, second leg clash against Orlando Pirates at Peter Mokaba Stadium on Saturday.
The mouthwatering clash of the giants, comes at the right time for fans, when the Bucs are also high on confidence, following their 2-0 victory moral-boosting win over Golden Arrows on Tuesday that propelled them to 4th spot on the log.