Mbalula slams Al Ahly fans
Al Ahly fans shone green lasers into the eyes of Pirates players during the CAF Champions League final.
JOHANNESBURG - Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula has hit out at Egyptian football fans who shone green lasers into the eyes of Orlando Pirates players during the team's Confederation of African Football (CAF) Champions League final against Al Ahly in Cairo.
The Egyptian giants beat the Buccaneers 2-0 on Sunday night.
SA Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula and Gauteng Sports MEC Lebogang Maile in Cairo. Picture: Wesley Peterson/EWN
Mbalula says that it needs to be clamped down on as it could have serious implications for player safety.
"I think it is something that needs to be condemned because you can't interfere with the play. You must allow your team to win on fairness and not become an extra player to an extent that you become destructive. I didn't think that it was proper to use laser at night to destruct players, which is dangerous."
Mbalula says that allowing lasers into stadiums to be used in this manner is not acceptable.
"I don't know whether they do it to us only, or they do it among themselves whenever they compete, but it's not fair and I don't think supporters must be allowed to promote such anarchy.
Mbalula told Eyewitness News that despite defeat, Pirates had done the country proud.
"Nobody wants to embrace a defeat, but also there is honour in defeat. I think Orlando Pirates Football Club have done exceptionally well throughout the campaign. The fact that they have lost in the finals, that in itself might be a disappointment. But at the same time we need to celebrate excellence and this is what all these players have displayed throughout."
Mbalula told Eyewitness News that Kaizer Chiefs, who'll represent the country in next year's competition, can learn from Pirates campaign this year.
"It must say to Kaizer Chiefs they can perfect where Pirates have failed and probably represent us all the way up to the finals. I think Orlando Pirates will now go back to the drawing board and focus on campaign at home."
Once the game got underway, it was clear Pirates and the three fans who made the journey from South Africa for the match were in for a long night.
The end of the first half saw a scuffle between Lennox Bacela and a few of the Al Ahly players.
Al Ahly's defence was resolute and they opened the scoring early in the second half through the great Mohamed AbouTrika.
A second goal finished off the Buccanneer's challenge.
The victory for Al Ahly sees them win an unprecedented eighth continental title.
Meanwhile, Bafana Bafana and Kaizer Chiefs captain Itumeleng Khune said the Buccaneers can be proud of themselves.
"We were hopeful they would do well and fly the South African flag, but unfortunately things didn't go well and we are disappointed. We are proud of their achievements as they reached the finals, it wasn't an easy journey."