PODCAST | Some staff ‘hit’ in away game against Mazembe: MaMkhize
Royal AM’s kit men and physical trainer were “attacked” and “hit” and had missiles thrown at their goalkeeper during the team’s away match in the Caf Confederation Cup against TP Mazembe.
This is according to the Durban club’s owner, Shauwn “MaMkhize” Mkhize.
Royal lost 2-0 in the first leg of their playoff match on Wednesday in Lubumbashi, Democratic Republic of the Congo, a notorious venue many SA teams have returned from with horror stories of poor treatment around continental club games.
Mkhize stressed in her interview with Marawa Sports Worldwide there would be no revenge tactics or gamesmanship in the second leg at Moses Mabhida Stadium on Wednesday (7pm), but said it would be “World War II” on the field.
“I’m back in one piece, but the experience was something else,” Mkhize said.
“I know our parents experienced apartheid, but what was worrying me is that [why should there be] apartheid because we are all Africans — we are supposed to be one.
“My players were strangled. You know [Mxolisi] Macuphu is a big guy. When he is going to score they literally go to him and strangle him and there is no card.
“My smallanyana [Mfundo] Thikazi and [Shaune] Mogaila were pulled down. My cameramen were literally hit. My kit men were taken out of the change rooms. Our balls were taken. We didn’t come back with our balls.
“The change room is literally outside [the stadium] — I don’t know why. Our kit men apparently were attacked at the back there and hit.
“When the match started, it was fine because I think they underestimated us. We’re a new kid on the block. They were so shocked — they thought they were going to give us 10-0.
“But 10 minutes in, when they could see it was not as easy as they thought it would be, things went haywire.
“They were throwing stones at our goalkeeper [Xolani Ngcobo] — when Mazembe attacked they threw things at him, disturbing him.
“On the sides they were starting to hit our physical trainer, our cameramen were taken off the field, they [Mazembe’s supporters] were starting to jump in, taking clothes, putting things on the field.”
Mkhize said some of her technical staff took shelter by joining her in the VIP area.
“The funny part is my cameramen felt like the only safe place was next to me, can you imagine? Let me tell you something else — in the whole stadium it was just me and my PA who were ladies. The whole stadium was packed with men.
“We looked for water right through [the trip], we couldn’t find it — all the shops were closed. We had to go to the hotel to beg for water, and remember, it’s very hot there.
“We looked like street children [begging] for water. And now we told the guys, ‘This is the only water we have, whatever you do save it.’
“But SA needs to do more. Let’s think about the four teams [in continental football in 2022-23] — Royal, Cape Town City, Sundowns and Gallants.
“Let’s support them when they are playing these games. We are flying the flag for SA. We need support.”
Mkhize said she sent an advance party that booked a five-star hotel and bus at the SA team’s expense rather than rely on Mazembe to provide them.
“We went the day before. Chartering [a flight] I think helped us because if we spent two or three days there out boys were going to take the field demotivated.”
Royal, who qualified for the Confed Cup as third-placed finishers in the DStv Premiership in 2021-22, beat Swaziland’s Mbabane Highlanders (2-0 on aggregate) and Zambia’s Zesco United (away goals) in the previous rounds.
Mazembe entered the Confed playoffs — the last round before the group stage — by losing in the second preliminary round of the more prestigious Champions League.
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