Africa-Press – South-Africa. In a fiery turn of events, the Nedbank Cup final witnessed a wave of discontent as Orlando Pirates emerged victorious over Sekhukhune United, claiming a remarkable cup double following their MTN8 triumph earlier in the season.
However, this momentous achievement was not immune to controversy.
Sekhukhune had initially taken the lead through former Sundowns star Sibusiso Vilakazi’s strike in the 12th minute. Yet, on the stroke of half-time, Tapelo Xoki restored parity for Pirates with a penalty.
However, it was the manner in which the penalty was awarded that ignited the ire of Marks Maponyane, a legendary figure from both Orlando Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs.
Sekhukhune’s Victor Letsoalo was brought down in his own penalty box, and Thembinkosi Lorch’s actions during the incident appeared deliberate, with the ball seemingly making contact with Letsoalo’s hand.
Amidst this unfolding drama, Terrence Dzvukamanja clinched a last-gasp winner, sending the Buccaneers faithful into a state of delirium.
Following the match, Maponyane delivered an explosive post-match rant that left spectators in awe.
In a stunning declaration, he declared that he is “done with football,” vehemently condemning Lorch’s perceived unsportsmanlike play, the abysmal refereeing, and asserting that football in the country requires a comprehensive overhaul.
“Our football is going nowhere when such decisions are made. It’s unsportsmanlike and the worst referring. The game is in trouble and it’s a shame. Ugly ref kills the beautiful game. I’m done,” said an asserted Maponyane on his personal Twitter account.
Amidst the aftermath, the contentious penalty decision has ignited passionate debates among fans and experts alike.
Some argue that Letsoalo deliberately reached out to touch the ball, while others contend that Lorch intentionally directed the ball onto Letsoalo’s hand.
As the dust settles, the Nedbank Cup final will be remembered not only for Orlando Pirates’ triumph but also for the divisive controversy that has once again brought the intricacies of refereeing and fair play to the forefront of the beautiful game.