SHOTS FIRED: Middendorp v Mokwena

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When Kaizer Chiefs coach Ernst Middendorp left the room at the end of the Soweto Derby post match press conference at FNB Stadium on Saturday, he shook his head.

The German didn’t look too pleased with his counterpart coach Rulani Mokwena of Orlando Pirates.

Naturally, Middendorp would have been smiling, because his side had just won 3-2 to go ten points clear at the top of the Absa Premiership log.

But at the presser, it was clear from the onset that the derby clash had spilled over to the front of the rolling cameras.

The main issue centred around what Mokwena alleged was “thuggish behaviour” from the Chiefs players as well as the disputed penalty, which FARPost.co.za covered in a previous story titled ‘Mokwena, Parker and the swimming pool story’.

The facial expressions said it all.

THE ALLEGED THUGGISH BEHAVIOUR!!!

Mokwena: “Yeah, it was a good advert for football, I think, if you minus all the drama and some of the thuggish behaviour then I think it’s a good advert for football; two very good teams going at each other,” said Mokwena, insisting that Chiefs players displayed a “thuggish behaviour” and that’s why Eric Mathoho was sent off. “But I hear coach Middendorp say he doesn’t know what happened with the red card. I’ve watched it again and I think it’s not just Mathoho that should have been sent off. It’s thuggish behaviour and it doesn’t belong on the pitch,” he insisted. “Even with (Willard) Katsande’s tackle on Fortune Makaringe in the first half… over the top, career threatening tackle and thuggish as well, you know. So those are some of the situations… those things don’t belong in South African football. I’ve got a player bleeding now, because he was punched on the face. Kaizer Chiefs is good enough to beat us on tactics, on personell, a well-coached team – excellent, but not on diving and not on thugging behaviour – not on boxing. On boxing, we don’t train boxing.”

In response, Middendorp suggested a few things. He mentioned that FIFA introduced yellow and red cards to deal with players who step out of line.

He also mentioned that in a match of this magnitude as the Soweto Derby, tensions could potentially rise.

Middendorp: “That is why, over the decades, the institution of FIFA introduced yellow cards, fouls, penalties and introduced all the stuff for when something happens. I think Fortune Makaringe and Katsande was quite a heavy duel, there’s no doubt about it. It’s not to deny, but I spoke to Eric and he said he was just on the way to really protect his own players – to protect the group going at each other and somebody fell part apart (referring to Abel Mabaso, who was pushed by Mathoho).

“… you’d see it probably in the Liverpool/Manchester City match (on Sunday) at 18:00 kick off… that’s a normal way, in particular if it’s a Derby.”

By Tiyani wa ka Mabasa

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