Rulani v Ramovic Part XI dismissed as non-issue

Police called to diffuse post-match tension

23 May 2024 - 06:30
By Sihle Ndebele
Mosa Lebusa of Sundowns and Lindokuhle Mbatha (35) of Galaxy engage in a pushing and shoving game alongside other players on Tuesday.
Image: Dirk Kotze Mosa Lebusa of Sundowns and Lindokuhle Mbatha (35) of Galaxy engage in a pushing and shoving game alongside other players on Tuesday.

TS Galaxy have downplayed the chaotic scenes that ensued on the pitch after their fiercely contested stalemate against champions Mamelodi Sundowns at Mbombela Stadium.

Despite a court case this week, ugly scenes where swear words flew around and punches were almost thrown in Tuesday's match, Galaxy say the growing acrimony between the sides is a non-issue.

Dozens of policemen and women entered the field to separate the two camps after the 1-1 drawn DStv Premiership game, as tempers flared with both sides threatening one another.

Puso Dithejane put Galaxy ahead in the 78th minute, sparking wild celebrations from Galaxy coach Sead Ramovic, while Peter Shalulile's equaliser triggered similarly overzealous celebrations from Sundowns.

At the centre of the commotion is the non-ending feud between Ramovic and Rulani Mokwena. Ramovic and Sundowns conditioning coach Sibusiso Mahlangu were caught live on TV exchanging verbal blows, with the latter appearing to be swearing at the former.

"It is common practice that police in their respective units and functions are assembled with any events that amass people, they form part of the security cluster like any other stakeholders,'' Ronny Moyo, Galaxy's head of communications, told Sowetan yesterday.

"With that said, Galaxy and Sundowns rivalry has gained attention recently, however such remains professional. The police we all saw remain the Public Order Police (PoP), they came as per usual to boost the stewards that kept guard on the field. Nothing new on that one."

Reiterating that the situation was diffused as both teams walked to their respective dressing rooms, Moyo suggested the incident between Mahlangu and Ramovic sparked the whole chaos at Mbombela Stadium.

"I am glad you saw swearing extended to Galaxy head coach [Ramovic] not reversed, whatever it was, it was easily extinguished by the time we walked out of the pitch,'' Moyo said.

There has been no love lost between the teams since last year's Carling Knockout, where Galaxy won, and now the situation has deteriorated to an extent that the Mpumalanga club took Mokwena to court in an effort to force him to withdraw recent comments that Bongani Zungu had been targeted for malicious injury by the club.

Ramovic v Mokwena: A timeline of the feud

October 18 2023: Galaxy beat Sundowns on penalties in the Carling Knockout, where Zungu's nasty challenge left Bernard Parker with a broken leg. After the match, Mokwena suggested Galaxy only won because Sundowns missed key players, who were with Bafana. Ramovic was irked with Mokwena's comments.

February 20 2024: Mokwena volunteers information to the press that Ramovic had called and apologised over comments that he made following their Carling Knockout match.

February 22: Ramovic refutes the claims he apologised to Mokwena, and claims instead that Mokwena insulted him in a long phone call. The Galaxy coach also said Mokwena lied when he said Bafana coach Hugo Broos had apologised to him for slamming him publicly.

February 28: Mokwena insists Ramovic was just an attention-seeker for saying he threatened him.

April 29: Sundowns beat Galaxy 3-0 in Tshwane and Orebotse Mongae was shown a straight red card in the 85th minute after a reckless tackle on Zungu. After the game Mokwena suggested Ramovic had told his players to hurt Zungu as revenge for breaking Parker's leg.

April 30: Galaxy threaten legal action against Mokwena over his post-match comments, where he suggested Rockets players were out to hurt Zungu.

May 21: Galaxy file papers in court, and Mokwena is listed as defended in a claim ostensibly to force him to withdraw his comments regarding Zungu's injury.

May 21: Both sets of teams are involved in a melee after their 1-1 draw, with police entering the field to separate them. TV visuals show Mokwena being restricted by Sundowns staff.

Ramovic tells TV interviewers Sundowns couldn't beat Galaxy despite signing players for "R200m" and that they will in future need Mbappe, Messi and Ronaldo to beat his side.