Soccer: Sigmund apologises for ugly incident

By Daniel Richardson

All Whites defender Ben Sigmund has issued a public apology for his ugly two-footed stomp on United Arab Emirates player Ali Mabkhout. Photo / Youtube.
All Whites defender Ben Sigmund has issued a public apology for his ugly two-footed stomp on United Arab Emirates player Ali Mabkhout. Photo / Youtube.

All Whites defender Ben Sigmund has issued a public apology for his ugly two-footed stomp on United Arab Emirates player Ali Mabkhout during New Zealand's 2-0 loss to the UAE in the OSN Cup final in Saudi Arabia on Tuesday.

Sigmund was shown a straight red card in the 89th minute for his offence and was back training with the Phoenix at Newtown Park in Wellington today.

The 32-year-old is likely to be given a ban for his brainsnap but nothing has been confirmed and Sigmund said he was disappointed in himself.

"I guess I was frustrated with the way the team was playing and I just wanted to come out and do my bit for the team and obviously I'm a passionate Kiwi man. That day just didn't go very well from as soon as we kicked off to pretty much when it finished. I just sort of took it over the line a bit and the frustration got to me and it turned out to be a bad tackle,'' Sigmund said.

"I just have to say sorry because it's not acceptable but as you say I've got a young son and my son was watching the telly and that probably hurt me the most is [he said] `where's daddy gone?' and I've been red carded. So it's not a nice situation and I had to explain to him when I got home what happened and I'm not proud of that.''

Sigmund said he had apologised to his teammates and Mabkhout and said the reason he didn't approach Mabkhout to express remorse straight after the stomp was given tensions were running high he didn't want to inflame the situation.

"I thought the best option was to get away and say sorry and I've done that through email and correspondence through the UAE and New Zealand Football.''

Former All Whites have given their two cents since the incident with some saying it was one of the worst tackles they had seen by a Kiwi and Sigmund said they were entitled to their view.

"That's their opinion. It's a pretty harsh opinion but I've just go to take it on the chin and accept it and I'll do that and it's up to them to make their decision of how they're going to suspend me or how many games I'm going to get.''

Sigmund will likely receive a ban of some form, which will keep him out of the All Whites' future friendly matches - not November's intercontinental playoff where a World Cup berth will be on the line. Details surrounding Sigmund's potential ban could be issued today.

New Zealand are likely to schedule a couple of friendlies in next month's international window, which Sigmund would be scrubbed from if he was to receive a ban.

Sigmund acknowledged the whole situation may put him on the outer selection-wise for Ricki Herbert's November squad.

"When you make a bad decision you do silly things. You've got to be prepared to take the consequences and I've just got to get my head down and work hard for the Phoenix and hopefully things go my way and I can get in that squad for the playoff because it's a huge, important opportunity.''

Sigmund said despite the incident he wouldn't change his tough style of play, which has been one of the trademarks of his professional career.

"There's a line. I always play hard but that was just wrong what I did so I think it's easy to sort out and I will do that.''

- APNZ

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