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Bullying Sirino is like beating up a woman – Mamelodi Sundowns coach Mosimane

9:30 PM IST 23/09/19
Pitso Mosimane, Sundowns, February 2019
The Masandawana boss has called on referees to protect his skillful player instead of focusing on his emotional reactions

Mamelodi Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane has made a plea for referees to protect midfielder Gaston Sirino against opposition defenders whom he preferred to call ‘bullies’.

The Brazilians' manager believes the Uruguayan playmaker is provoked by opponents, and match officials only look at the attacker’s reaction instead of focusing on the perpetrators.

Sirino nearly received a red card against SuperSport United in an MTN8 semi-final clash last week after he looked to be fouled by Clayton Daniels and his reaction towards Dean Furman was spotted by the official who issued him with a yellow card.

“The referees must protect Sirino and must never look at how he reacts. They must go to the aggressors and yes, intimidation is a tactic also, they want to send him off, but it is okay,” Mosimane said to the media during a press conference.

“Everybody puts their hands on his face because he is small, what is he going to do? It is like beating a woman.

“The bullies are there to do what they have to do to send him off. He is the smallest guy on the pitch and everybody is targeting him because he is dribbling and he is doing all of that and no one wants to watch a party. So, they play strong on him.”

Sirino’s actions have caught the attention of referees on many occasions and he was ordered to take an early shower against Maritzburg United last season, but ‘Jingles’ has challenged the ‘bullies' to take their game to goalkeeper Denis Onyango and defender Wayne Arendse.

"He reacts. It is normal and I am not saying he must punch people. If he punches, he must get a red card, no problem but those who lay their hands on him, give them a yellow card,” continued Mosimane.

“Somebody has to protect Sirino. How can we have technical players like this and we don’t protect them?

“He is an emotional player. I’ll rather have him get the yellow cards and whatever but playing to his full potential than being bullied.

“I want them to go to Wayne Arendse or Denis Onyango and put a hand on their faces. Heavyweight to heavyweight, if you are a big boy go to Denis and let’s see. I don’t promote it but don’t go to soft targets,” he concluded.

Meanwhile, the 28-year-old was instrumental for the reigning PSL champions last weekend where he netted the first goal in their 2-1 win over the Team of Choice before setting up Lyle Lakay’s winning strike at Lucas Moripe Stadium.