The unruly behaviour displayed by Bucs fans was shameful – it brings the entire game into disrepute
Ugly scenes of violent attacks on players and officials marred Mamelodi Sundowns’ victory over Orlando Pirates at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria yesterday as chaos erupted on the field.
At least 13 people were injured when unhappy Pirates supporters jumped the fence and stormed on to the field just after Downs scored their sixth goal of the match – the Bucs were still on zero.
A police Nyala had to be sent to the field and police fired tear gas to disperse the unruly crowd.
The game was halted for more than 30 minutes, but then resumed. The remaining nine minutes of the match were played without Pirates fans, who had left. Advertising boards were stripped and the metal bars that supported them were used as weapons as tensions rose.
Police last night said they would determine charges based on the medical reports, and they planned to source various TV footage in a bid to identify the culprits and charge them with assault and public violence.
While Mamelodi Sundowns were running riot on Pretoria’s playing field with six goals netted to Orlando Pirates’ zero, some Bucs fans could not take defeat. They lost control of their emotions and resorted to thuggery, breaking chairs and using them as weapons of mass destruction.
This obviously puts South African football in a bad light, and strong action must be taken against the culprits as they not only put other supporters’ lives at risk, but bring the beautiful game into disrepute.
It was horrible to witness supporters sustaining injuries and having to be treated on the field by medical staff – with police simultaneously firing tear gas to disperse the unruly crowd.
Dubbed “the battle of stars”, this Absa Premiership clash turned out to be a no-contest affair as The Brazilians hotly defended their newly acquired reputation, having been crowned winners of the CAF Champions League last year.
It is clear that the accolades earned by Pirates in 1995 are a faded memory.
This was not how it was supposed to be. Much was expected from the Bucs. But Downs had other ideas as their march towards the summit of the log continues. They put up a vintage performance and gave nothing away.
Fed-up Pirates supporters invaded the pitch after the Brazilians’ sixth goal, scored in the 83rd minute.
Sundowns were unstoppable in the way in which they put six goals past a hapless Jackson Mabokgwane. Except for Gift Motupa’s early miss for Pirates, it was Downs all the way and their victory was well deserved. With this kind of performance, they are still favourites to retain their title as they show no signs of slowing down.
This was the second time Pirates conceded six goals this season. The last time they got half a dozen – against SuperSport United – their coach, Muhsin Ertuğral, resigned live on television. Interestingly, caretaker coach Augusto Palacios did not come back from the change room to finish the game.
Based on yesterday’s performance, it is clear that Pirates need a coach – fast. The Bucs lack direction on and off the field. The way in which they succumbed to Downs yesterday showed they lacked inspiration. They were simply never in the Loftus game and easily succumbed to the defending champions.
Pirates’ technical team also got it wrong with their starting line-up, which included two newcomers, James Okwuosa and Mark van Heerden. Left back Thabo Matlaba was then shifted to the right back, making way for Van Heerden.
This meant a new back four. As a result, the combinations did not work as they lacked cohesion. Moreover, Abbubaker Mobara was deployed in the middle of the park in the absence of Issa Sarr.
It was clear as early as the fifth minute that this was not going to work, as Downs easily exploited their defence. Bucs’ defence was found wanting on more than one occasion, but these warning signs were ignored, and they paid the price.
In another afternoon encounter, Golden Arrows beat Bloemfontein Celtic 2-1 at Princess Magogo Stadium in Durban in KwaZulu-Natal.
Former Iran coach Carlos Queiroz and Morocco national team coach Hervé Renard have emerged as early frontrunners for the vacant Bafana Bafana coaching job.
City Press has reliably learnt the two have expressed interest in the position.
SA Football Association (Safa) chief executive Dennis Mumble revealed that among the more than 30 candidates who had applied for the job were former Manchester City coach Roberto Mancini and former Italian mentor Giovanni Trapattoni, as well as former Nigerian international coach Samson Siasia, three-time Afcon winning coach Hassan Shehata of Egypt and João Paulo Costa of Portugal.
Yesterday, Safa’s national executive committee decided to appoint a selection panel to sift through the CVs and recommend the preferred candidate by month-end.
Safa president Danny Jordaan said: “We will announce the panel on Tuesday or Wednesday and we are looking at former coaches and players.” See box for criteria (for full story visit city-press.news24.com/Sport)
MAYHEM AND MADNESS Orlando Pirates supporters go on the rampage during the Absa Premiership match between Mamelodi Sundowns and Orlando at Loftus Versfeld yesterday. Pirates were losing 6-0 when fans vented their fury
LADUMA! Orlando Pirates goalkeeper is dejected as Mamelodi Sundowns celebrate yet another point scored during the Absa Premiership match played against the Bucs at Loftus Versfeld yesterday