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Makola should be banned for life while Messi and Ronaldo's teaching our kids to dive – Sweeney

14:17 EAT 16/11/2019
Mpho Makola, Cape Town City, October 2019
The former PSL referee has shared his thoughts on the six-month ban meted out on the Citizens' midfielder

Former South African Football Association’s (Safa) referee Errol Sweeney believes the ban handed to Cape Town City midfielder Mpho Makola is lenient.

According to the retired official, ‘Bibo’ should have been slapped with a five-year prison sentence for assaulting referee Abongile Tom during their Telkom Knockout Cup clash against Kaizer Chiefs last month.

The ban was announced by the Premier Soccer League (PSL) on Friday and the former Orlando Pirates player will not play for the club for the rest of the current campaign, with Sweeney saying assaulting an official is not on.

“This player, I did see the incident and it’s not really violent but he pushed the referee and it’s absolutely a no-no. You cannot touch an official,” Sweeney told Goal.

“The referees are victims of verbal abuse and these things are out of order. Honestly, I believe that any player who assaults the referee must get a lifetime ban from football, otherwise, the players will continue with these acts.

“Look, today it can be a push, a punch and tomorrow it can be a kick and it will escalate. We need to stamp this out immediately.

“He should have got a life ban and five years in prison for GBH (grievous bodily harm) - that’s the opinion of the referee. People will differ depending on which side they are on but assaulting a referee is not on.”

Although the Citizens have argued that the PSL prosecutor Nande Becker was harsh and the Mother City-based club announced they will support the veteran midfielder in lodging an appeal for being a good role model, the ban has mixed reactions in the football fraternity.

“You know like in a court of law, whatever the charge the court takes (the points to say he's a role model) as mitigation to hand out a sentence. However, the seriousness of the offence should not lessen the sentence,” added the England-based award-winning official.

“He may be a good player, a good role model but he should set a good example to the children to say they must not push and assault the referees.

“He must set that example on and off the field and respect the community because he is idolized. He must stand against pushing and assaulting the referees.

“For example, diving and cheating on the field of play, it started and because the children can see Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo doing it.

“You can go to the field on Saturday or Sunday morning and see them diving and cheating. They will do it because they see it from their idols.”