Cape Town City believe midfielder Mpho Makola didn’t get a fair hearing after he was banned for six months.
In a statement, the Citizens claim that Makola didn’t even have legal representation and that’s because he was showing remorse for assaulting referee, Abongile Tom, in October against Kaizer Chiefs.
“It is with sadness and concern that the club learns of the sentencing of Mpho Makola. The decision was reached after a hearing that lasted over three hours late last night in Johannesburg. The decision by the disciplinary committee, led by prosecutor Nande Becker finds Mpho guilty of assaulting a referee and has imposed a ban of 6 months.
“The premeditated aggressive nature of the proceeding was as harmful as the decision to ban Mpho for 6 months. The PSL prosecutor continued to emotionally and intellectually badger Mpho, who was determined to handle the proceeding without legal representation in an attempt to show that he was not there to fight his innocence, but rather to show unwavering remorse.
“Mpho was taken advantage of. It got to the point where the hearing had to be stopped completely so that a level of humanity and sanity could be expressed to the league’s prosecutor Nande Becker in relation to his treatment towards Mpho, which was as aggressive as it was unnecessary to the technical proceedings.
“There was a clear premeditated intention from Nande Becker to ensure that a 12-month ban and R250k fine was placed on Mpho personally. There was also a clear premeditated intention to define Mpho’s character and lack of remorse despite the facts which obviously display the complete opposite.
“Mpho is a South African footballing legend with an exemplary football history. He has been an example and role model to aspiring youth around the country with a career that has spanned well over a decade playing for Free State Stars, Orlando Pirates, and Cape Town City. He has represented the PSL and South Africa with distinction, playing over 250 matches in the PSL with not a single red card in his entire career. His discipline, humility, and integrity are unheard of in the modern game.
“He is a humble family man with a wife, kids, and debit orders like the rest of us. To impose this decision at 33 for a first offense in Mpho’s unblemished career raises serious concern over the intentions of the league’s prosecutor Nande Becker. It is a decision that signals the possible end of Mpho’s career and last livelihood for his family. We are not the first club to have history with prosecutor Nande Becker and the inconsistency over which cases are taken on, how long we wait for them to be heard, and the intensity with which different cases are pursued – all which cements a clear concern over the consistency of the greatest league on the continent.
“Just last season we attempted with Nande Becker to pursue clear cases of intentional violent assault against Thabo Nodada and Roland Putsche which left them both to miss the entire season with broken legs. We were told that the referee’s decision is final and that a card decision cannot be changed unless for mistaken identity.
“However, Mpho was only given a yellow card by the same referee who Nande Becker claims he assaulted in a manner which he feels demands a 12-month ban. Even in the match report (after having time to reflect and revisit the incident) the referee documents his decision against Mpho as simply misconduct.
“After a penalty was awarded for Kaizer Chiefs Mpho ran towards the ref and, in an attempt to get the referee’s attention, shoves him in manner that clearly warrants a red card. Bothered by what was clearly a lenient decision, Mpho understood the severity of his misconduct and called the referee immediately after the game to express his endless remorse over a single action which was at complete odds with the Mpho Makola all South Africans know.
“The club and Mpho have been extremely critical over the action, which has led to heavy internal disciplinary proceedings. Whilst we don’t condone his misconduct against the referee, the club and football fraternity must fight for our player over a correct sentence.
“The sentence for misconduct against a referee is a 4-match ban, perhaps the correct determination.
Considering the nature of the incident, a ban of 6 months (bearing in mind the intention of Nande Becker was 12 months) is beyond comprehension and void of any attempt to deal with the merit of the individual case specifically.
The interpretation of Mpho’s action was continuously angled in a way that suited the prosecutor’s own definition of assault, without any evidence to affirm that Mpho had any intention of causing bodily harm with force. The referee’s own report reaffirms that he never felt threatened, nor did he internalize Mpho’s actions as anything close to assault.
“Needless to say, the club will be behind Mpho as he begins to appeal the decision for a more appropriate sentence.”
– Compiled by Tashreeq Vardien
*Please note that the statement was cut down by the Editor due to its length.