Yellow card turns to six-month ban for South African

A file photo of Mpho Makola (L) playing for former club Orlando Pirates. He has been banned for six months after shoving a referee

Cape Town City midfielder Mpho Makola has been banned for six months after shoving a referee -- an offence for which he was only yellow carded.

The 33-year-old former international used both hands to push referee Abongile Tom last month after opponents Kaizer Chiefs were awarded a penalty during a League Cup match.

Although a red-card offence, Tom only cautioned out-of-control Makola, who had to be dragged away from the match official by teammates.

The Makola ban has shocked many South African football followers used to offenders receiving light sentences for serious acts of ill discipline.

Match bans and fines are often conditionally reduced, leading to criticism that the lenient approach encourages bad behaviour.

When a top-flight footballer was handed a 12-month sentence for spitting at a referee, it was slashed to six matches and a suspended 100,000 rand ($6,800/6,150 euro) fine on appeal.

After another spitting incident, this time between players, a 10-match ban was cut to six after the offender appealed, and no fine was imposed.

With the Makola ban effective from November 15, he will miss the rest of the 2019/2020 season unless Cape Town reach the FA Cup final, scheduled for May 23.