Baroka backtrack on Gomes re­quest af­ter some ‘soul-search­ing’

CityPress - - Sport - TI­MOTHY MOLOBI in Uyo, Nige­ria ti­mothy@city­press.co.za

Lim­popo side Baroka FC, who are in the thick of the Na­tional First Di­vi­sion pro­mo­tional play-offs, have been caught up in a tan­gle with the SA Foot­ball As­so­ci­a­tion (Safa) and the Premier Soc­cer League (PSL).

The club wrote to Safa re­quest­ing that Vic­tor Gomes and two other ref­er­ees not of­fi­ci­ate at their games dur­ing the play-offs.

Baroka felt hard done by af­ter Gomes con­tro­ver­sially dis­al­lowed a goal they scored from the penalty spot for en­croach­ment, and then gave a free kick against them.

This robbed the club of a valu­able point as they fought for their lives.

How­ever, Baroka’s chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer, Morgan Mam­mila, told City Press on Fri­day that they had since with­drawn their re­quest af­ter some soul-search­ing.

But the with­drawal could have come a lit­tle too late as City Press has learnt that the PSL is not happy with how the club went about mak­ing the re­quest – writ­ing di­rectly to Safa in­stead of go­ing via the league.

A source in the PSL said the club may be charged for bring­ing the league into dis­re­pute. The in­sider said it was not clear why Baroka did not want the match of­fi­cials.

“I think there is more than meets the eye in the re­quest. It raises ques­tions. Why don’t they want these of­fi­cials? Is there some­thing they know that we don’t? They need to come clean,” said the source.

PSL head of me­dia re­la­tions Lux­olo Septem­ber said the league would not com­ment on mat­ters per­tain­ing to match of­fi­cials as they fell un­der the ju­ris­dic­tion of Safa.

Safa spokesper­son Do­minic Chimhavi con­firmed re­ceiv­ing Baroka’s re­quest. How­ever, he said it was not given con­sid­er­a­tion as Baroka’s rea­sons were flimsy.

Mam­mila said they had re­alised that they had made an emo­tional de­ci­sion fol­low­ing the in­ci­dent in their game against Ar­rows.

“We felt hard done by af­ter that de­ci­sion, but Safa told us the rules say a ref­eree’s de­ci­sion is fi­nal. We were out of or­der to make that re­quest and we have since moved on and ac­cepted the out­come of the game. Some­times, when you re­flect, you re­alise you have made a mis­take and you have to ac­knowl­edge that and move on.”

Mam­mila de­nied not go­ing through the cor­rect chan­nels to lodge the com­plaint and said they had first writ­ten to the league.

Be­fore yes­ter­day’s third play-off game be­tween Baroka and Stel­len­bosch FC, the Lim­popo side were on top of the mini league.

PHOTO: SA­MUEL SHIVAMBU / BACK­PAGEPIX

IN TROU­BLE Baroka might be in hot wa­ter with the PSL and Safa

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