'The referee apologised to me' - Arrows hit out at controversial defeat

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Vusumuzi Vilakazi, coach of Golden.
Vusumuzi Vilakazi, coach of Golden.
Darren Stewart

Golden Arrows co-head coach Vusumuzi Vilakazi has revealed that referee Thabo Mkhabela offered an apology after Abafana Bes’thende suffered a controversial 3-1 defeat to Orlando Pirates in a DStv Premiership clash.

Vilakazi insists that his side were affected by the officiating as Arrows' Ntsako Makhubela was fouled during the build-up to Terrence Dzukamanja's goal that gave Pirates a 2-1 lead, before Vincent Pule added a third to seal the win for the Buccaneers.

"I’ll be honest with you my brother, [after the game] I went to the referee – I approached the referee nicely, I wasn’t fighting the referee. I asked him about the incident [tackle on Makhubela] and he apologised to me," Vilakazi said.

"It was unfortunate that we lost the game in that moment. He apologised. I even spoke to the linesman when he told me there’s nothing he could do. I even asked: 'why do you communicate?' because if the linesman sees something he should communicate with the referee."

"But it [communication] was something that didn’t happen, it’s fine. Water under the bridge. But he [Mkhabela] accepted that he made a mistake, Makhubela was fouled."

"I strongly feel that the moment when Makhubela was fouled changed the whole game for us. I don’t mind the goal that was there because psychologically my team and all of us were affected by the decision from the referee."

The loss to Pirates leaves Golden Arrows in position 12 of the DStv Premiership with a mountain to climb when they take on an in-form Maritzburg United side.

Meanwhile, Riveiro and Pirates got to breathe a sigh of relief as the win ended a run of three consecutive losses. The Buccaneers will look to build on when they host Stellenbosch on Sunday at the Orlando Stadium in Soweto.

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