Bucs, Chiefs coaches in off-pitch verbal spat

Kaizer Chiefs coach Ernst Middendorp, right, and assistant coach Shaun Bartlett shout orders against Orlando Pirates.
Kaizer Chiefs coach Ernst Middendorp, right, and assistant coach Shaun Bartlett shout orders against Orlando Pirates.
Image: ANTONIO MUCHAVE

Orlando Pirates coach Rulani Mokwena and his Kaizer Chiefs counterpart Ernst Middendorp threw jabs at each other at a media briefing after Saturday's Soweto derby that ended 3-2 in favour of Amakhosi at FNB Stadium.

Winning their first Soweto derby in regulation time in five years, Chiefs needed a first-minute own goal from Ntsikelelo Nyauza, Leonardo Castro's header and a late penalty by Daniel Cardoso to edge a determined Bucs side.

For the Sea Robbers, it was Vincent Pule and Gabadinho Mhango who found the back of the net.

Just before the media conference of what was arguably one of the most productive and entertaining Soweto derbies in recent era started, you could sense the tension between Mokwena and Middendorp on the podium.

The Bucs mentor fired the first salvo when he called Chiefs spokesman Vina Maphosa, who was facilitating the conference, to order for initially addressing him by his first name without the title "coach", while he had acknowledged the German as "coach Middendorp".

Maphosa apologised and a visibly angry Mokwena lambasted Chiefs players' behaviour on the pitch, terming it "thuggish".

The Sea Robbers mentor felt Amakhosi players were out to harm his troops through dangerous tackles. He implied that Chiefs players' "thuggish behaviour" was Middendorp orders.

"Mazinyo", as the Chiefs coach is known in local football circles, fired back by saying Mokwena was still bitter over the defeat, saying it may take time for Mokwena to accept the outcome.

"Some coaches need an hour, some days... to process a defeat. I already have a friend and I don't need another one," Middendorp said calmly.

"The soccer game is a game of mistakes in attack and defence. We made less mistakes and we got three points. Soccer is about results."

As the dialogue continued, Mokwena argued that Bernard Parker dived to earn the penalty: "And Parker goes and gets a swimming pool [to dive into]."

Middendorp insisted the referee's call was correct: "We fully deserved the penalty."

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