Kaizer Chiefs coach Ernst Middendorp hit out at the sending-off of his assistant coach Shaun Bartlett in Port Elizabeth last weekend.
Bartlett was banished to the stands by referee Victor Gomes as Chiefs went down 1-0 to Chippa United at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium on Saturday.
It was a high-stakes clash with Amakhosi fighting to retain their top eight standing while The Chilli Boys were facing the threat of relegation in their final clash of the league campaign, and emotions were naturally high.
However, Middendorp says he already felt hostility from the fourth official inside the opening 15 minutes, before his colleague was later given his marching orders, but contested the fairness of the decision when looking at the opposite technical bench.
“We can’t comment on this sending off, I feel totally sorry, I can only give you a short reflection – after 12 minutes, the fourth referee came to me, I was not even standing up nor did I say anything, and he asked, ‘Do you know your players need you? Do you want to go to the stands?’
“I asked him three of four times, ‘Can you repeat this? I don’t know what you mean,’” explained Middendorp.
“And that tells you the story, I really don’t understand until now, and I think if you saw one side – just watch it again – and you see the other side of the benches on the weekend, then I’m asking you seriously, looking into it, who should have received the red card if it had to be given?
“I fully understand that there’s a lot of pressure on either side, but please, be honest and watch what happened over there.”
The German tactician further rued the absence of Bartlett in this weekend’s Nedbank Cup final but assured it will have no bearing on his influence over the team and their performance against TS Galaxy.
“I feel sorry for Shaun, but he will be fully involved and very supportive – that’s for sure,” he added.