Cape Town City Head Coach Jan Olde Riekerink was left fuming after a substitution debacle in City’s loss to Chippa United in the Nedbank Cup on Sunday.
Chippa won 2-1 after extra time, with Bienvenu Eva Nga scoring in the dying minutes.
With the game having just gone to extra time, Nigerian Abdul Ajagun had to go off injured and City were preparing to bring on Thami Mkhize.
Prior to this City had made four changes. 3 of these had happened at half-time in regulation time, while the fourth happened in the 90th minute. So with teams being allowed five substitutes under the temporary Covid-19 regulations, City still had one remaining.
However as the substitution was about to take place, match commissioner Robert Smith halted the substitution, saying City were not allowed to make the change.
After much debate, they were eventually allowed to make the change, but had to play over ten minutes with only ten men before Mkhize got on the pitch, and Olde Riekerink says it meant his players were exhausted and Chippa took advantage.
“After one minute Abdul left the game, and we wanted to substitute because we knew could have one substitution more,” Olde Riekerink said after the game.
“The linesman allowed us to have the substitution, but then the Match Commissioner came downstairs and he stopped it saying we were not allowed. And then I think it’s very unprofessional if you have to play 14 minutes in that phase, 10 men against 11. And you could also feel that they felt that we had 10 players because at that moment, they dominated the game.”
“For me. It’s unbelievable. I never had this in my whole career that it’s discussion about the rules.”
“But it took us extra energy, I think and you could see this, the second part of the extra time was surviving. There’s two reasons it has to do with that we had to go back in the game. That was our mistake. We have to go back in the game a lot of times.”
“But of course yeah, I think it’s for me, like I really cannot understand that in professional football that we have a discussion about can you substitute or not, it’s clear that we could substitute, and then 14 minutes we play with 10 players against 11, think that’s something new for me.”