We were never instructed to kick opponents – Rabutla

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During the early 2000s Jomo Cosmos defenders earned a bad reputation of being ruthless and whose tactics were to eliminate opponents through bone crunching tackles.

Quite a few former strikers or opponents would attest to this as they either ended up in hospital or being taken off during a match.

One culprit is now retired former Ezenkosi defender and captain Andrew ‘Jaws of Life’ Rabutla, who was once threatened with a lawsuit from Kaizer Chiefs after breaking Patrick Mabedi’s leg during a League encounter.

“I have listened to people saying I was rough and all that, but I was doing first man on the ball, sometimes players were just lazy,” Rabutla told FARPost.

“Remember I was playing in Greece (for PAOK) and the way they were playing no South African player would have coped to play in Greece because they can tackle (hard) that’s why when I came back it was so difficult for South African players to understand my play,” he said.

“Sometimes when an opponent is giving you a problem you have to make a plan. Like the way (Siyabonga) Nomvethe was playing so I had to do the job and go stop Nomvethe from scoring goals because if you don’t stop him, he would punish you. Not really kicking him because if you kick you won’t finish the 90 minutes because the referee will punish you.

“Maybe I will ‘kiss’ him once just to make him understand that there is a player called Rabutla. So it was not like Jomo (Sono) was saying go and kick opponents, no. the instruction was to go and be strong. As long as you are first man on the ball and you win the ball then you are fine,” added Rabutla.

The 48-year-old also reveals the player who gave him the toughest time during his career.

“In South Africa it was difficult especially Siyabonga Nomvethe because he was quick. When I wanted to do my things he was always running away so he is the one who used to give me a big problem,” he said.

Another notable victim of Rabutla’s rough tacking is former Chiefs striker Serge Djiehoua who spent six months on the sidelines after a tackle by the former Bafana defender.

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By Ofhani Munyai

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