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AmaZulu slam lenient sentence for match officials who fabricated attack

11 December 2017 - 11:59 By Marc Strydom
AmaZulu general manager Lunga Sokhela. File photo.
AmaZulu general manager Lunga Sokhela. File photo.
Image: Anesh Debiky / Gallo Images

AmaZulu general manager Lunga Sokhela has slammed what he feels were light sentences on match officials who fabricated an attack on them by players from the club‚ saying they should be “banned for life”.

Match commissioner Rudzani Mulaudzi received a ban from a South African Football Association (Safa) disciplinary committee last month for the rest of the 2017-18 season.

Assistant referee Linos Hobwane was suspended for two years for concocting an assault on him by AmaZulu players in a National First Division match against Baroka FC in January 2016.

Sokhela‚ asked if AmaZulu feel vindicated by the decision‚ said: “Look‚ at least finally something was done. It’s scary that those types of things can happen.

“And to be honest‚ it was shocking that one of them was only banned until the end of this season.

“I mean‚ for something like this you should be banned for life.

“How on earth can we allow these people to come back‚ whether it’s at the end of this season‚ or the next two years to actually officiate games when they’ve been that dishonest?

“And one has to ask‚ ‘What was their motive‚ really?’.

“You’re not just talking about something that could have been them being mistaken as them being hit. You’re talking about nothing at all happened‚ and then they went and completely fabricated a story.”

Three match officials – referee Anwar Alexander’s case has been postponed – alleged after the game that AmaZulu’s players had assaulted Hobwane.

False photos were supplied of Hobwane’s injuries.

The assault was debunked by video evidence that emerged in the Premier Soccer League disciplinary committee hearing in May 2016 against AmaZulu and five charged players – Thabo Moloi‚ Marc van Heerden‚ Robyn Johannes‚ Ayanda Dlamini and Sage Stephens.

The footage showed that AmaZulu players encroached on Hobwane‚ but were held back by security officials.

The DC chairman‚ Raymond Hack‚ asked Safa to investigate the officials for their false “evidence under oath”.

Hack added that “whether it’s a – let’s put it in inverted commas‚ ‘a potential match-fixing situation’‚ it is something that we don’t know.”

Hack’s reference appears to be questioning the motivation for the players’ anger at the referees over a questionably allowed goal by Baroka in the 75th minute that was the source of the fracas.

Sokhela said he could only speculate at the motivation of the officials for fabricating the assault allegation‚ but he did not rule out match-fixing having had a role to play.

“Well that match‚ the officiating was very poor. There was a goal that was allowed that should not have been‚” he said.

“It was just poor all the way around. Yes‚ one could speculate they did what they did to get back at the players.

“A second reason might have been that it was also to destroy AmaZulu at the time.

“Because that incident‚ you’re talking about five players who were involved. Had they been banned the season was over for us.

“So for me it was a very serious case. And people like this should be banned for life.

“And what is crazy is I saw that match commissioner [Mulaudzi] at our Telkom Knockout match against Kaizer Chiefs [this season] – he was the match commissioner.

“I said to myself‚ ‘What the hell is going on here? This guy’s still involved in football‚ and being appointed to our matches’.”