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HomeNedbank CupMokwena Shares View On Lunga Incident

Mokwena Shares View On Lunga Incident

Mamelodi Sundowns head coach Rulani Mokwena admitted that the challenge before Divine Lunga was substituted could’ve been a yellow card offence, but the first booking was soft.

Lunga was taken off after just 28 minutes for Thapelo Morena while Sundowns were 1-0 ahead, courtesy of Khuliso Mudau.

This was after he could have been sent off for a foul on Devin Titus, who was getting the better of the Zimbabwe international for speed on several occasions.

“I think even before I go to the second incident, I thought the first yellow was a bit soft,” Mokwena said.

“I watch a lot of the games, I won’t mention which one and I heard the commentator, I think it was Mark Gleeson who complimented the referee and said he’s managing the game because that foul happened a bit too early for the stature of the game.

“I think, I stand to be corrected – and then when I look at that one with Divine, I said ah the first one is maybe a bit too harsh. Especially for the profile of the game, the time, so early… You can go into that space.

“And then of course, he puts himself on the edge when he goes in for their second situation but it also starts because we allow the ball to be delivered in that area.

“Then it becomes a speed race – it becomes difficult, but I think some of them go your way some of them don’t.

“Then we were forced to contribute to the performance of the team because we could go with it the way we could or we could make the sub.

“We decided to make the sub and I thought we were spot on with our subs today even at half-time we used Lorch for Tash – who was playing well. But Tash has just come back into the rhythm and playing 90 minutes a few days ago and it’s not easy for him.

“So I knew if I didn’t take the change at half-time I lose an opportunity for a stoppage then I have four subs to make in only two stoppages in a cup game and that becomes difficult.”

Mokwena suggested that perhaps they were lucky for it not to be a red card in that moment where the linesman was taken off after suffering a hamstring injury, but on the basis of the two fouls it was, in his opinion, fair.

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“There were a lot of small details that we had to pay attention to and I think we were spot on with that and yeah I don’t know it can go that way and manage the situation [Lunga’s foul],” he continued.

“Maybe you have to compliment the referee for trying to manage the semi-final, leaving it XI vs XI – and maybe not causing as much controversy as we’ve seen over the last couple of weeks.

“Maybe that was the thinking of the officials, I don’t know but like I said my first instinct, the first yellow card, I thought that was a little soft.

“Then maybe when he goes for the second one, that’s the one he should have gotten a yellow for in my opinion – then you not talking about whether it should be a send-off or not.

“But that’s perspective, one I choose because I will always protect my players and team and I will always be biased on my outlook on things.”

Mokwena’s charges will now face Orlando Pirates in the final of the Nedbank Cup on 1 June at Mbombela Stadium.

Lorenz Kohler
Lorenz Kohler
Lorenz Köhler is an award-winning South African football journalist. Having cut his teeth in the industry working at Kick-Off Magazine, he is now iDiski Times' senior digital content writer. He specialises in breaking top African football stories and transfers with a major focus on the 'big-three' Mamelodi Sundowns, Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates and CAF inter-club and international competitions. In 2021 he was listed amongst the top-five journalists under 30 in Print Media for the AIPS Awards.