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That’s not sportsmanship - Mark Williams on Sundowns' yellow cards

Gaston Sirino‚ Hlompho Kekana‚ Sibusiso Vilakazi and Mosa Lebusa were sitting on three yellow cards and intentionally ensured they were booked in the 2-1 win over Bloemfontein Celtic on Wednesday night.

Football legend Mark Williams. Picture: YouTube screengrab.

JOHANNESBURG - Mark Williams on Thursday labelled the behaviour of some Mamelodi Sundowns players as ‘unsportsmanlike’ after four players were deliberately booked in order to miss the team’s next match.

Gaston Sirino‚ Hlompho Kekana‚ Sibusiso Vilakazi and Mosa Lebusa were sitting on three yellow cards and intentionally ensured they were booked in the 2-1 win over Bloemfontein Celtic on Wednesday night so they could be suspended for the Nedbank Cup last 16 clash against Vaal University of Technology on Sunday.

These bookings mean they will not be in danger of suspensions as the Absa Premiership enters its last 10 matches of the season and the Brazilians try to win a record-extending tenth league title.

“I think that a lot of coaches have done it previously and he is doing it because he has important games,” Williams said at a Nedbank Football and Finance event on Thursday. “He realises now he can win the league and if he can get some of his players that play, available for games such as Wits and Chiefs, they can win the league.

"I think it’s the wrong strategy, but they are going to say who am I to say that because I’m not a coach. Is it an advantage? Yes, it is. Is it the wrong way of doing it? Yes, I think that’s not sportsman (like), in my view that’s not sportsmanship. Because if we talk about fair play and sportsmanship, we have to look at it both ways. For me, getting a yellow card, just like that, you have to ask yourself, if he had no yellow cards would he have taken it? So, for me, I don’t agree with that”.

After the win over Celtic, Mosimane defended the decision to get the players intentionally booked, insisting that the club did not cheat.

“We have to be honest and understand we have a lot of yellow cards,” Mosimane said in defence of his actions. “It didn’t look good and professional, but everybody is doing it. You must tell me of a team that hasn’t done what I did. I am waiting to hear that person because I know my football very well. If you want to chase the league‚ you have to clear the yellow cards.

"It is not cheating‚ but it is part of the game and Celtic does it also. It is not delaying‚ what I don’t like is delaying with the goalkeeper having hamstrings. That one I don’t like, and I don’t encourage in my team. You must remember that the referee has the option to add more time. He added about seven minutes and he acted right”.

Following the win, the Brazilians closed the gap at the top down to four points to leaders Kaizer Chiefs. With 10 games to go before the end of the season, Mosimane said none of the title challengers could afford to drop points.

“We are in a position where we cannot lose a game. If we lose a game, the league is gone. So, we have to keep it alive and I hope everyone keeps it alive. So, let the league be exciting. Let’s all sit on the edge of our seats. Let’s see, let it go (on) and let’s see what happens”.