- Pirates were behind against Sekhukhune in Nedbank Cup final
- But a controversial penalty saw them hitting back
- They went on to win the match and the trophy
WHAT HAPPENED? The penalty, converted by Tapelo Xoki, saw the Buccaneers launch a comeback from being a goal down to edge Sekhukhune United 2-1 and claim the Nedbank Cup.
Referee Thando Ndzandzeka adjudged Sekhuklhune forward Victor Letsoalo to have handled the ball inside the box off Thembinkosi Lorch’s boot. It became the most contentious incident of the match with opinion divided.
WHAT WAS SAID: “A Sekhukhune player goes to the ground after colliding with a teammate,” wrote Ncobo on social media.
“The Referee correctly does not stop play because there is no question of serious injury requiring immediate medical attention. [Keep this note: an injured player takes no further part in active play]
“A Pirates player gains possession of the ball very close to the Sekhukhune player on the ground. The player on the ground registers his involvement in active play by kicking the ball with his foot, whilst still on the ground.
“This action nullifies any notion of injury. This "no injury" is reinforced a few seconds later when he stands up without having received any medical attention seconds after the penalty is awarded.
“When the attempt to kick the ball away from the Pirates striker fails, the Sekhukhune player, still lying on the ground, reaches out with his arm and deliberately handles the ball.
“The referee and assistant simultaneously see the infringement, as seen by the almost negligible time between the time the assistant referee raises his flag and the referee blows for the infringement.”
AND WHAT MORE? Ncobo added that Letsoalo should have been shown a yellow card for his deliberate handball.
“I have read a huge number of comments from people who claimed that the Pirates striker should have been punished for "kicking the ball against an injured opponent", yet the truth is that, even if he had done that and it was illegal, it would have come after the deliberate handball,” continued Ncobo.
“In conclusion, the decision to award a penalty was spot-on! But the referee was wrong in not cautioning the player.”
THE BIGGER PICTURE: Another former PSL referee Victor Hlongwani has also shared the same sentiments as Ncobo as he says the penalty decision was the right call. Orlando Pirates coach Jose Riveiro also says Ndzandzeka whistled correctly.
But Kaizer Chiefs legend Marks Maponyane disagrees, calling the incident the "worst refereeing" ever while Sekhukhune coach Brandon Truter refused to comment.
WHAT NEXT FOR PIRATES? The Sea Robbers now go on an off-season break, hoping to return stronger next term.