Mokwena cries foul over Pirates’ penalty after Downs Nedbank Cup final loss

Mamelodi Sundowns coach Rulani Mokwena expressed his disappointment with a pivotal penalty call awarded to Orlando Pirates during their Nedbank Cup final defeat.

The Buccaneers successfully defended their Nedbank Cup title, edging out Masandawana 2-1 at Mbombela Stadium on Saturday. Pirates’ Relebohile Mofokeng scored a dramatic last-minute winner to put his side ahead as the score was tied at 1-1.

Themba Zwane of Sundowns opened the scoring while Patrick Maswanganyi rattled the back of the net from the penalty spot to equalise for the Jose Riveiro-coached team.

The contentious penalty decision came in the 71st minute when referee Skhumbuzo Gasa adjudged Aubrey Modiba to have fouled Maswanganyi inside the box. Mokwena vehemently disagreed with the call, believing it was Modiba who suffered the foul. Mokwena not happy about Orlando Pirates’ penalty

Rulani Mokwena: ‘I just saw the penalty they got'

“I just saw the penalty they got, I thought Tito fouls Aubrey Modiba honestly ,” said Mokwena.

“I’ve watched it again and again.

“I don’t want it to sound like excuses. I watched the penalty, Tito is not even looking at the ball.

“He moves his back, he slides into Modiba. And Modiba could have done better in anticipating that and not gone tight because if you look at the body language of Maswanganyi, he’s not even looking into go into the situation and compete for the duel.

“So, maybe is to allow him [Maswanganyi] to receive first, keep your position and apply pressure and force him a little bit back. “But it’s football, these things happen.”

Mokwena admitted it was a difficult feeling to accept the defeat. However, he still feels they played well enough to come out victorious. ‘You can’t say we didn’t deserve to win’

“How difficult it is? It’s very difficult but it is what it is because it’s the game of football,” he added.

“You can’t say we didn’t play well, you can’t say we didn’t deserve to win the game, you can’t falter the players.

“As a parting shot, I’d like to thank them, for everything they have done this season, for their commitment this season. “Win or lose, they will always know, I love this group of players. I know that they love me also, just as much or even more.

“Okay we take a double [AFL & DStv Premiership]. We’ve done incredible work this season.”

Mokwena’s troops were hoping to grab a treble this season having won the African Football League this season, beating Wydad Casablanca in the final and the DStv Premiership. Meanwhile, Ezimnyama Ngenkani collected the MTN8 and Nedbank Cup this campaign, beating Sundowns in both finals.

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Nkosiyabuya Sithole

Nkosiyabuya Sithole, a young and rising sports journalist based in Durban, South Africa, harbors a deep passion for football. Nevertheless, he aspires to become a well-rounded journalist, adept in various areas of the field.

Nkosi's career began in 2020, working as a home-based writer during the COVID-19 pandemic. He has since written for various websites, including Briefly News, FiND-iT News, and The South African. Attending live sporting events is a particular pleasure for him, as they provide opportunities for interaction with sports personalities.

Outside of the office, he's a God-fearing and affable young man.