Fungai Muderere recently in Pretoria, South Africa
CHICKEN Inn defender Passmore Bernard who was adjudged to have fouled Mamelodi Sundowns’ Khama Billiat inside the box which saw Downs being awarded a penalty at the death of the match on Saturday night, says he never had a physical contact with the Zimbabwe international.
“Khama received a defence splitting pass before he outpaced some of my teammates. He came face to face with me. I shielded him from our goal and when he was about to go for the kill, I kicked the ball which he was greatly protecting. In actual fact Khama dived. I did not foul him,” said the soft spoken Bernard.
“It’s part of the game but I think the referee was too harsh on us,” he said.
South African football neutrals who had a chance to meet Chickenn Inn officials at their hotel and in the streets of Pretoria also expressed their displeasure on how Madagascar referee Andofetra Avombitara Rakotojaona came to a decision of awarding a penalty to Sundowns.
Many in the Chicken Inn camp are feeling that there was conspiracy behind their loss amid revelations by Gamecocks’ head of delegation, Dennis Tshuma, who is Zifa Matabeleland North chairman, that the match officials were housed in the same hotel with Mamelodi Sundowns prior to the match.
Soon after the match a sombre atmosphere engulfed the Chicken Inn camp and Zifa vice president Omega Sibanda, the associations’ board member development Edzai Kasinauyo and Zifa chief executive officer Jonathan Mashingaidze, who had graced Lucas Moripe Stadium, were quick to go and comfort the boys in their dressing room.
They were joined by Zimbabwe international Cuthbert Malajila who is in the books of Mamelodi Sundowns.
Pretoria University’s Partson Jaure came to the Gamecocks hotel where he kept on talking to a number Joey Antipas’ charges praising them on their spirited performance.