Mamelodi Sundowns skipper Hlompho Kekana took off in Sunday’s MTN8 semi-final away against Chippa United was to avoid him to get a second bookable offence and becoming the club’s first red card of the season, coach Pitso Mosimane explained.
“We were skating on thin ice after yellow cards for both Hlompho Kekana and Tiyani Mabunda. I sacrificed Kekana because he does not enjoy a good rapport with (referee Philip) Tiyani,” he explained.
“This is the ref who snatched and confiscated our papers. I’ve never seen that before and I’m still waiting for someone to tell me why we can’t pass notes during a game.”
Kekana was one of five Sundowns players booked, mostly for late tackles. “Chippa were very quick with their short passes, and then that is what happens sometimes,” added Mosimane.
Apart from Kekana and Mabundla, there were also cards for Keegan Dolly, Wayne Arendse and debutant Yannick Zakri. Chippa picked up two in the goalless draw at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth.
“With Kekana out I pull Dolly and Billat into a three-man midfield and we managed to stop them a little,” Mosimane added.
All Sundowns players will be available for the second leg on Wednesday, 21 September, unless there is a red card on Wednesday when they play away at Maritzburg United.
By Matthews Moraba