Mark Gleeson

Khune 'not' man of the match

2011-02-28 07:38
Sport24 columnist Mark Gleeson (File)
Mark Gleeson

Picking Itumeleng Khune as the man of the match after Saturday’s derby was a ridiculous decision.

The goalkeeper spent half the game flapping at high balls and it was his vulnerability in the air that provided Pirates with the fuel for their second half revival.

Khune punched a few away, made one good stop in the second half but always looked secure in goal until Thulasizwe Mbuyane bagged the late qualifier for the Buccaneers. The ball floated over Khune and onto the head of the Pirates striker, although Khune claimed afterwards he had been impeded.

My man of the match was Oupa Manyisa in midfield, who outshone Andile Jali and muscle superiority over both Tinashe Nengomasha and Reneilwe Letsholonyane.

Chiefs hardly saw any ball in the second half as Manyisa was master of the midfield, winning possession and feeding the Pirates attack.

Jali looked a little ginger after recent suspension and injury and Isaac Chansa had an uncharacteristically poor game, so for Pirates to dominate the second half was reflection of just how well Manyisa played.

Valery Nahayo was superb in defence for Chiefs again, bottling Katlego Mashego for most of the match. But the decision by Vladimir Vermezovic to keep faith with Thomas Sweswe rather than put Dominic Isaacs, returning from suspension, back in the team almost backfired.

Sweswe tripped Ndumiso Mabena in the second half in the penalty box right in front of the referee but Jerome Damon waved play on.

I thought the ref was superb in the first half but then showed an inability to make the big decisions in the second half.

As South Africa’s top referee, Damon tends to play it safe these days, not being bold enough to make the marginal, gutsy calls. His linesman Enoch Molefe, who botched up in the last derby when Siphiwe Tshabalala got away with a handball in the box, was correct this time round in ruling Mashego offside when he found the net in the second half.

Pirates deserve a point, maybe even more. Chiefs look sharp in the first half and it was pleasing to see Kaizer Motaung score again. He is too well mannered a player to show two fingers to the Chiefs fans but after the all the abuse they have given him in recent years, I admire his not ceding to the temptation of giving them a big ‘up yours’ when he scored. He would have been well within his rights to do so.

He was among the winners on the day, even though the game ended in a draw. So were the 90 000-odd who made it to the ground for the game and the other big winner was the South African game.

What a magnificent advert for the local game, the whole day was – the crowd, the atmosphere, the good behaviour, the football, the drama and ultimately the shared points which keep the league race intriguing.

Mark Gleeson is a respected television commentator and Editorial Director of Mzanzi Football.

Disclaimer: Sport24 encourages freedom of speech and the expression of diverse views. The views of columnists published on Sport24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Sport24.

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