Makola's six-month ban for an ‘assault’ on referee Tom reduced on appeal

Mpho Makola trained as usual during his six-months ban.
Mpho Makola trained as usual during his six-months ban.
Image: Grant Pitcher/Gallo Images

Cape Town City have received a significant boost in their bid to avoid an unlikely relegation scrap after midfielder Mpho Makola saw his six-month ban for an ‘assault’ on referee Abongile Tom reduced on appeal to four games.

Makola was suspended by the Premier Soccer League’s (PSL) Disciplinary Committee in November after being found guilty of manhandling Tom during a Telkom Knockout clash with Kaizer Chiefs in October.

Makola had laid his hands on the match official and gave him a shove‚ which the PSL DC regarded as assault‚ with prosecutor Nande Becker reportedly pushing for a 12-month ban at the time.

But he and the league have been left with egg on their faces after a South African Football Association (Safa) Appeals Board reduced the sentence to four matches‚ saying Makola had instead been guilty of a lesser charge of unsportsmanlike conduct.

That being the case‚ Makola has already served his sentence and will be available for City when they take on fellow strugglers Baroka FC on January 5 in the resumption of their Absa Premiership campaign.

City are winless in four games under new coach Jan Olde Riekerink and are languishing second-bottom in the league after a disastrous season to date.

Makola’s lesser sentence is also vindication for City owner John Comitis‚ who felt there was a witch hunt against his player and argued from the outset that the original sentence was too harsh.

City had called it aggressive and said Becker had “emotionally and intellectually badgered” Makola‚ comments which have landed them in front of another PSL DC.

City argued that Makola had only received a yellow card and not a red from Tom‚ and that the referee did not feel he had been the victim of an assault.

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