Mamelodi Sundowns’ tense Caf Champions League showdown against Nigeria side Lobi Stars at Lucas Moripe Stadium took an ugly turn when coach Pitso Mosimane and his visiting counterpart Solomon Ogbeide were involved in a heated exchange after the encounter on Saturday night.
Tempers flared after Mosimane accused Ogbeide of refusing to shake his hand when the two sides met in the away leg in Enugu in the beginning of the year.
Ogbeide‚ who initially did not want to be part of the post-match press conference‚ said there was a misunderstanding about a training venue in Enugu.
“In Nigeria there was an argument when Sundowns wanted to train early on an artificial pitch‚” he said.
‘‘I asked my boys to leave the field and called Sundowns to train but they refused. I refused to shake his hands in the first match in Nigeria but it is in the past.
“After the match here I tried to shake his hand but he refused and I said ‘OK‚ I am not your wife’.
‘‘Even when he saw me on Friday I said to myself ‘I am not your girlfriend‚ you are a coach in your country and I am a coach in my country.
‘‘You are not bigger than me and I am not bigger than you and if you don’t greet me it does not diminish the quality of African football.’
“When he came on Saturday‚ he just passed me but I was focused on my team.”
At some stage Ogbeide even threatened to leave the room in the middle of the interview as emotions ran high.
South Africa and Nigeria have a long-running rivalry that is often laced with tension and the fiery Sundowns coach was having none of it on Saturday‚ insisting that the match had graduated from being just a game between two clubs and had become a tussle for national pride after his charges thumped the West Africans 3-0.
“It is about the national agenda and the flag‚ you remember the story of who is better between SA and Nigeria‚” Mosimane said.
“Some of the things needed to be sorted out and if Bafana Bafana doesn’t sort it out we hammer three goals here and we make them chase shadows.
‘‘The national agenda is important by beating the champions of Nigeria‚ beat them nice and there is no argument about offside. It is important for our countries because we are carrying the national flag and bragging rights.
“It is also important that you give a proper display at home and we deserved to win because we were a better team.
‘‘It is important that when teams come from outside the country they should know that they can lose and they can lose by big margins.
‘‘We scored three goals against Asec Mimosas‚ we scored three goals against Lobi Stars and we scored two against Wydad Casablanca.”