April 10, 2021

‘All players are human’ – Maritzburg United’s Tinkler defends grieving Ofori’s mistake

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The Ghana number one insisted on playing despite suffering a family bereavement back home

Maritzburg United coach Eric Tinkler says his goalkeeper Richard Ofori boasts of unquestionable qualities and cannot be held accountable for Sunday’s 3-2 defeat by Black Leopards, a match he played in grief following the death of his late mother two days earlier.

A blunder by Ofori led to Leopards’ first goal scored by Mwape Musonda in the 20th minute, before also conceding goals from Lifa Hlongwane and Tiklas Thutlwa, who netted on his debut.

Before the game, Tinkler intended to drop the Ofori on compassionate grounds, but the Ghanian insisted on playing in honour of his mother.

“It was always going to be difficult [to play] obviously we are all aware that he lost his mother,” said Tinkler as per Far Post.

“We obviously sat him down and we asked him how he felt, he felt fine, he wanted to play. He felt that it was important to play to honour the memory of his mother and that was the case.

“All players are human, he made a mistake, whether that has anything to do with the fact that his mom died, I don’t think so. I think he is human, he is bound to make mistakes and it happens.

“You know the qualities that he has and the quality that he presents.”

The match was Maritzburg’s first since the resumption of the 2018/19 Premier Soccer League (PSL) season.

It marked a halt to their run of four straight wins, leaving them in the sixth spot on the standings.

A frustrated Tinkler painted the picture of his team as a hopeless side when describing the defeat by Leopards.

“I think the less said the better [about our performance],” Tinkler told SuperSport TV.

“That’s how bad we were. Defensively we were not there. I thought the first 30 minutes we were nowhere. We were not even involved in the game. We only game back into the game in the last dying 10, 15 minutes of the first half.

“And then the second half was as bad as the first. So, the less said the better… We came here just to fulfil the fixture. It cannot be like that.”

Tinkler and his men now prepare to face Mamelodi Sundowns in their next match on Friday.