Orlando Pirates striker Bernard Morrison has explained his audacious attempt at using his hand to score in last weekend’s Soweto Derby at the FNB Stadium.
Shortly after his arrival at Pirates in August last year, Morrison was dubbed ‘Maradona’ by his new teammates, apparently due to his reluctance to pass the ball, but likely also to his short, stocky frame being similar to the Argentine legend.
Over a year later, the Ghanaian forward lived up to his nickname as he attempted to emulate the infamous ‘Hand of God’ goal, which Maradona scored against England in the 1986 World Cup, in last Saturday’s clash against Kaizer Chiefs.
However, the linesman spotted his woeful attempt to put the ball in the back of the net using his outstretched arm, and referee Thando Ndzandzeka duly booked Morrison.
“I was laughing because it was such a coincidence,” he explains to our source. “When I joined Pirates they started calling me Maradona, and then this thing happened on Saturday.”
Jokingly, he adds: “They were calling me Maradona because they said I hold onto the ball for too long, and now it’s not only holding onto the ball but also scoring with my hand – that makes me a complete Maradona.”
Although he didn’t pull it off the way his namesake did, asked what was going through his mind in that particular moment, the 24-year-old says he used his natural striker’s instincts to improvise and get a much-needed goal for his side.
“I was reading the game from the far side and I think [Mpho] Makola got the ball and was coming towards the box, so as a striker you read the body position of the one with the ball,” says Morrison.
“I saw that definitely he wouldn’t score from there, it’s either going to be a cut-back or maybe a shot across the face of goal, and I had to anticipate what he was going to do.
“Immediately when he kicked the ball, I realised unfortunately there was too much power on it and I was already there to finish the ball. But when I realised it was going wide, I had to make a plan!
“The only problem was the linesman was so close and saw that I had overstretched my hand to meet the ball. It might have been [different] if there had been more [Chiefs] defenders to my right, and he would not have seen it, because I saw the referee initially whistled for a goal.”