Still no action against hooligans
Sundowns president Patrice Motsepe continued his deafening silence yesterday despite both the SA Football Association and the Premier Soccer League condemning the behaviour of his club's supporters at the weekend.
Irate Downs followers bayed for coach Johan Neeskens' blood after the club's fourth premier league defeat in six matches, a 2-0 defeat by Moroka Swallows at Dobsonville stadium on Sunday.
It was the second time within a month that Sundowns fans had invaded the pitch but Motsepe, the owner of the club, is yet to speak out. Club officials said he is in Australia on business.
Downs did react, though, in a statement by head scout Trott Moloto condemning the fans' behaviour.
Safa president Kirsten Nematandani described the hooliganism as an evil that had to be rooted out "before it becomes a monster".
On Sunday, many Sundowns fans pushed past barricades and riot police to get to Neeskens.
The coach had a small gash on his face after being hit, it was said, by a bottle thrown at him in the tunnel.
The press conference after the match had to be moved closer to the change rooms because of fears that Neeskens was still in danger.
Nematandani wants premier league clubs to find the perpetrators of the latest spectator misbehaviour and hand them "life bans".
"Most people go to watch soccer as a source of entertainment with their family and they need to be protected from these thugs. These unpleasant images are viewed across the globe," Nematandani said.
PSL CEO Cambridge Mokonyane said the running amok of Sundowns fans was "unacceptable and will not be tolerated".
The PSL issued a similar statement after crowd violence on September 4, following Sundowns' 2-1 defeat by Maritzburg United. But no action has been taken.
"The safety and security of both the players and the fans is our priority," Mokonyane said yesterday.
Neeskens said he would not quit and that his team would turn things around.
"I am not a quitter. I am here to win things, and I understand the fans' frustration, but I am very optimistic because we have to keep working as a team."
Neeskens earns a reported R750000 a month on a three-year contract.
When he became coach in June last year, Motsepe said: "It is a prerequisite at Sundowns for a coach to win the premiership."
The Brazilians are third from bottom of the league log. But the coach, who admitted it was the first time in his managerial career that he has been hounded by fans, said Downs would turn around their fortunes.
They face Platinum Stars next.