Highlands Park accept Orlando Pirates fans' apology after 'offside' goal


Highlands Park director Brad Kaftel is fuming with the way the match officials handled their game against Orlando Pirates on Tuesday night.

The Lions of the North suffered a 1-0 loss to the Buccaneers in an Absa Premiership encounter that was played in Tembisa with a goal that looked offside, but was not flagged.

READ: Rhulani responds to 'offside' goal claim

In the early stages of the game Pirates striker Tshegofatso Mabaso escaped a red card when he jumped on Lindokuhle Mbatha with two feet, right in front of assistant referee Luvuyo Pupuma.

The Owen Da Gama-coached side looked set to earn a valuable point that might come in handy at the end of the season, but Mabaso's late strike that was not ruled offside by assistant referee Buyisile Ngqambiyana stole all three points for the Sea Robbers.

"It's a very sad day," Kaftel tells snl24.com/kickoff.

"Such a fantastic event, such a spectacle, full-house crowd, two fantastic teams... it's an advertisement for the PSL, but no one wants officiating like that, nobody.

READ: Fuming ODG: It was three metres offside!

"If you look at the social media comments no one is happy. Even the Orlando Pirates faithful are not happy, even they are apologising. The Orlando Pirates supporters are apologising on social media. They are apologising saying 'sorry Highlands' because they are embarrassed.

"They are a fantastic club, they don't have to win like that. Ja it's sad, not good huh? All I can say is it's embarrassing for the PSL and for SAFA because they own the referees.

"I can say that it's a fantastic event. It's much-loved by the crowd, much loved by the TV audience. Two fantastic teams, great event and then poor officiating has let us all down, everybody, Highlands supporters, Orlando Pirates supporters, neutral supporters, nobody wants to see that.

"It was not even a close call. Sometimes when there is a call we say 'look these officials are human' but in this instance this isn't a close call, this is metres offside, miles offside you know. So it's disappointing.

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"So Orlando Pirates is a fantastic club, their supporters are apologising on social media, so we accept the apology. Look, there may have been some occasions where we as Highlands Park have had decisions going in our favour, and I understand in football that sometimes decisions go with you and go against you. Obviously when they go against you, you are very disappointed.

"But we have to give the assistant the benefit of the doubt and say it was a mistake. You know we have to believe that it was a mistake. But what I'm saying is, it was a bad mistake and it cost us a point, and it's a mistake that you expect to see in a much lower level you know. It's a mistake that you don't even expect to see in the Castle League, there's no role for mistakes like that any longer. Not in today's PSL.

"The PSL is a fantastic league, and errors like that can't happen in the PSL today, no. Maybe in the past, but the PSL level is high and the officiating needs to be as high. I believe the officials made an error, I believe they are human as well and they will make mistakes as well, I understand that. We all make mistakes in life you know."