South Africa

TS Galaxy take Sundowns’ Mokwena to court over ‘defamatory’ comments

Just hours before Tuesday evening’s rescheduled DStv Premiership match between TS Galaxy and Mamelodi Sundowns, the Rockets have submitted documents to the Johannesburg High Court, as the spat between Sead Ramovic and Rulani Mokwena takes on an added dimension.

Galaxy were left fuming after Sundowns head coach Mokwena made comments following Sundowns’ 3-0 win over Galaxy in the DStv Premiership on April 29, suggesting Galaxy’s Orebotse Mongae had deliberately injured Sundowns’ Bongani Zungu, in an incident that saw Mongae sent off.

In October, Zungu was sent off during the Carling Black Label Knockout last 16 match between Galaxy and Sundowns, after a horrendous tackle that left Galaxy’s Bernard Parker with a broken leg.

“I’m disappointed with the tackle on Bongani Zungu because I was told … the coach of the opposition (Ramovic) showed (the footage of) the tackle Zungu made on Bernard Parker to his players (during the week) and said, ‘Don’t forget what Bongani Zungu did’,” Mokwena said after the April 29 DStv Premiership match.

‘Untrue and defamatory’

According to SABC Sport, Galaxy wrote a letter to Sundowns and Mokwena demanding an apology.

“The impugning statements comprise untrue and defamatory statements pertaining to the Club and is indeed per se defamatory of the Club, its players, Head Coach, technical team, players, staff and management as well as its supporters,” read the letter.

“In the circumstances, we are instructed to demand, as we hereby do, that Mr. Mokwena and, by extension, Sundowns immediately retract the impugning statements, and publish an unconditional, prominent and appropriate public apology (in the terms agreed to by the Club) in both videographic and written forms, which should be prominently published on all prominent football social and other media platforms (including that of Sundowns), be it print and/or electronic.” 

Clearly this has not been forthcoming and Galaxy have gone to court, with the club and Galaxy listed as plaintiffs in the matter, and Mokwena as the defendant.

The spat between Ramovic and Mokwena goes all the way back to the Carling Knockout last 16 match in October, which Galaxy won on penalties after a 2-2 draw.

Mokwena talked afterwards of having to field a weakened team with his Bafana Bafana players unavailable, as they were on international duty. Ramovic took exception to this and blasted Mokwena for lacking respect for his team.

‘They said they didn’t play seven players (who were with Bafana). How is this respect for the players who played? You have a player you bought for R60 million, (Marcelo) Allende. Then you bought (Junior) Mendieta for R12 million, then you have (Bongani) Zungu and a lot of other national team players. And you come up with this excuse?’ said Ramovic.

“It disrespects my staff, my players and myself. I think a strong coach does not find an excuse, he says ‘fantastic job, Galaxy, fantastic game plan, you beat us’ and he shows respect.’

Ramovic then claimed, at a dramatic press conference in Johannesburg in February, that Mokwena had threatened him in an expletive-laden phone call.

“What he said to me was, ‘Who the f**k are you to come to my f**king country and talk to me like this. Do you know who my parents are? Be careful how you talk because you are in my f**king country,’ said Ramovic.