Although Safa Eastern Cape hosted successful playoffs last weekend in Nelson Mandela Bay, a dark cloud lingers over results that could have thrown the whole end-of-season spectacle into disrepute.
Final group B matches played at the Nelson Mandela Stadium on Sunday almost became an insidious facade and pantomime that brought the whole competition and spirit of the game into disgrace.
Safa Eastern Cape chairman, Mzimkhulu Fina, said he flatly rejected results of a final day group B encounter between host team Motherwell Academy and Musketeers FC, representing Amathole.
“I need the referee’s report. We need to send people who display that kind of thing to the integrity committee. Even if it takes four or five years we will deal with such things,” said Fina after the final whistle had blown, declaring Komani team Seven Stars winners and newly promoted to the ABC Motsepe league.
The chairman’s remarks came after a bizarre 12-0 score between host team Motherwell and Musketeers. At the final kickoff on Sunday, third-placed Motherwell needed a win of 11 goals to take the coveted prize. They exceeded expectations, netting 12 by the 90th minute.
Going in to the final matches, which were played concurrently, Seven Stars were log leaders on six points with a goal difference (GD) of six. Their closest challengers were opponents Relatives who were on three points. Stars needed a draw to win the group, and Relatives needed a handsome win by seven goals to get them to the top.
While one and two were locked in a match that became heated and almost bitter, across the field it was dead quiet, yet its result almost became the single most defining match of the week. At half time the log leaders were at a 2-2 stalemate, and the Motherwell – Musketeers at 4-0. Seven Stars managed to hold on for a 3-3 draw and safely got seven points, but had they failed, it is the 12-0 score that would have mattered in the most in the end.
Fina said competitions head Sandile Mata would investigate if everything was above board in the 12-0 match, but he also had choice words for both teams.
“You could see the attitude of the team wearing black (Musketeers) and all of a sudden the scoring of goals (by Motherwell). I even said I would need a report the competition officer, Sandile Mata, compiled.
“It is a poor display and if it was a question of the selling of games then people must understand the impact of the consequences of such shenanigans. We work very hard to attract sponsors. I do not accept them (scores) even if both teams have not been promoted. If they say they were tired they need not come back for the next four or five years. It is total nonsense and there is no need to try and be diplomatic about it,” said Fina.
Asked why they lost the game 12-0, Musketeers chairman Ayanda Julibamba said: “We were playing children. It was a dead rubber game.” On whether they sold the game: “We know of no such thing”. Motherwell chairman, Luthando Lubisa had more explanations. “They subbed their first team goalie by half time. They played an infield player. Everything was fine before he left,” said Lubisa.
All this while Safa president Dr Danny Jordaan had taken the time to visit the playoffs and watch the local talent.