Cape Town - The South African Football Association (SAFA) has announced its decision to rescind a red card wrongly given to Golden Arrows defender Lambikano Mzava in a case of mistaken identity.
Referee Thando Ndzandzeka mistakenly sent off Abafana Bes'thende right-back Mzava for a second bookable offence for a foul committed by fellow defender Mzwandile Buthelezi in a 2-1 loss to Orlando Pirates on Saturday evening.
SAFA have moved quickly to rectify an embarrassing incident for the association announcing that it has reviewed the incident and taken retrospective action.
It said in a statement: "In the match between Golden Arrows and Orlando Pirates over this past weekend, referee Mr Thando Ndzandzeka showed a red card to the wrong player.
Mr Ndzandzeka wrongly showed the red card for two yellow cards to Arrows player Lambikano Mzava (shirt number 5). The Golden Arrows player who was supposed to have been shown a yellow card for a reckless challenge is Mzwandile Buthelezi (shirt number 3).
Therefore, the red card shown to Mzava is rescinded on the basis of mistaken identity.
The referee has since written an acknowledgement letter that after reviewing the match, he had shown the yellow card to the wrong player.
"We have since written correspondence to this effect to the club and the Premier Soccer League," said Tenda Masikhwa from the SAFA Referees Department.
Ndzandzeka later issued an apology saying that he realised immediately after the game that he had made an error in sending the wrong player off.
"I am sorry. It hurts very much thinking about it. Not to point fingers but I think the error could have been avoided had I had an experienced fourth official.
"Even my assistant referee did not help me that much because he too missed the number of the player at fault. I realised immediately after the match that I had made a mistake.
"The first thing I did when I arrived home was to watch the highlights, I realised this is bad. Players must stop crowding officials because it leads to such costly mistakes. Unfortunately I can't reverse the decision but this is a big lesson to me and the players"
"When the incident happened, I picked out number 5 and then went to check on the injured player. An Arrows player told me I made a mistake but I thought he wanted to stop his team-mate from getting a red card."