WATCH | Ncikazi explodes, tells Simba and journalists to be ashamed after Pirates defeat
'All of you are going to write lies. Write the truth. Simba didn’t deserve to win.'
Coach Mandla Ncikazi took a swipe at Orlando Pirates' Tanzanian hosts and club Simba, saying his team were treated “like animals” in Dar es Salaam as they lost 1-0 in Sunday's first leg of the Caf Confederation Cup quarterfinal clash.
Simba will arrive in Johannesburg this week for Sunday's second leg at Orlando Stadium fancying their chances to progress to the semifinals after Shomari Kapombe’s 68th minute penalty gave them a single-goal lead. Ncikazi lamented the penalty as “dubious” in his post-match press conference.
Simba's Spanish coach Pablo Franco Martin spoke first in the 16-minute briefing and answered questions from Tanzanian journalists for nine minutes about his team’s advantage in denying Pirates a crucial away goal. He said the Buccaneers are a good team and his team will need to improve their intensity if they are to progress.
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While Caf matches are infamous for appalling officiating, time-wasting tactics and making venues hostile for visiting teams, Ncikazi lit up the remainder of the press conference as he lambasted especially the latter.
“First, congratulations to the opponents, but let’s speak the truth. I don’t think we deserved to lose,” Ncikazi said.
He said Pirates' lives were made difficult from the airport, to their hotel and at the Benjamin Mkapa National Stadium where more than 60,000 Simba fans converged to watch the most popular club in Tanzania.
Simba's home venue is notorious for gamesmanship and a hostile reception for visiting teams. Kaizer Chiefs and Al Ahly — both eventual finalists — lost there in the 2020-2021 Caf Champions League and made similar complaints to Ncikazi's.
“One, as Africans, let’s change this mentality that when opponents come to Tanzania you are so hostile to them you treat them like animals," Bucs' coach said.
“Everywhere we went we were treated badly, inhumanely. This is a game of football that should unite us, but what you get here is hostility and abuse.”
The penalty was awarded after ex-Buccaneer Bernard Morrison went down under the challenge of Happy Jele in the box. Jele had come across for the covering challenge after Ntsikelelo Nyauza was beaten on Pirates' right and appeared to be beaten by pace, making contact with Morrison after the ball was already pushed ahead by the Ghanaian.
VAR appeared to confirm Tunisian referee Haythem Guirat's decision. Ncikazi said VAR was “not used” despite an agreement for its usage and “was switched off all of a sudden” when it needed to check the penalty incident.
“Go check the penalty that Simba got. It is not a penalty, because our defender got to the ball first. Again, before Simba got a penalty, our player [Sipheshle] Ndlovu, [should have had] a penalty but it was not given.
“The referee doesn’t have the decency to go and check with the VAR. All of sudden VAR is switched off. Why do Africans do these things to other Africans?
“Do you really think that Simba should get the same hostilities when they come to SA? Is that what you expect?”
Wagging a finger at journalists, Ncikazi said: “And all of you here are going to lie and write lies. You should be ashamed of yourself as Africans. Write the truth. Simba didn’t deserve to win.
“The penalty they got was not a penalty and the penalty we got was not given. VAR was not working.
“Why do you do these things to other Africans? Are we going to improve our football on the continent like this? And you are all proud that Simba won. Simba didn’t win. The referee made them win.”
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