AmaZulu’s Pablo Franco complains about poor officiating after Nedbank Cup loss to Orlando Pirates

FILE - AmaZulu head coach Pablo Franco during a press briefing in Durban. Photo: AmaZulu FC/X

FILE - AmaZulu head coach Pablo Franco during a press briefing in Durban. Photo: AmaZulu FC/X

Published Apr 15, 2024


AmaZulu head coach Pablo Franco was seething at the officiating after his team were eliminated from the Nedbank Cup by Orlando Pirates on the weekend.

Franco’s team were quickest out of the blocks on Saturday, and found themselves in the lead on the half hour mark. However, when the whistle blew for full time, Pirates were through to the semi-finals after winning the fixture 4-2.

The result did not sit well with the Spaniard, who felt the officials had influenced the result of the game. On the stroke of half time, Pirates pulled level after being awarded a dubious penalty.

“It’s unfortunate that this amazing game between these two teams was decided the way it was,” an incensed Franco said after the quarter-final clash ended.

“It’s a pity that we aren’t talking about football but rather we’re talking about the reason certain things happened for one team and not the other. (Saturday) was too much of a scandal, and it’s not the first, second, third, fourth or fifth one this season,” said Franco.

“I think we are not respected at all and no one is doing anything regarding what is happening in these kinds of games, which are not decided by the 22 players playing.”

However, despite the defeat, Franco was still proud with how his team played against an in-form Pirates side.

“I’m so proud of this team, this club and the way that we played, competed and stood up again after what happened in the last minute of the first half when any team or any player could’ve given up.”

Meanwhile, Pirates’ own Spaniard, Jose Riveiro, was happy with the result, and went on to praise both teams for putting on a spectacle.

“I think it was a really good football match. Both teams, maybe with different types of approaches, tried to get a result that can drive them into the semifinals,” said Riveiro.

“There were a lot of emotions and passion in the game. I think we had a fantastic start to the game... we started the way we dream to start the games, electric and creating chances, suffocating the opponent in their own half but we couldn’t capitalise on that dominance in the first minutes of the game.”

Riveiro’s Orlando Pirates will travel to the Eastern Cape to take on Chippa United in the semi-finals of the Nedbank Cup, while Stellenbosch FC will host Mamelodi Sundowns.

Mbombela Stadium in Mpumalanga will host the final. The dates for the semi-final and final will be announced at a later date.

IOL Sport