MARITZBURG United coach Gordon Igesund has begun proceedings to sue his Kaizer Chiefs opposite number, Muhsin Ertugral, for defamation.
This follows a heated attack by Ertugral on Igesund at a press conference two days after Chiefs’ 3-2 defeat against United in a PSL match in Chatsworth on September 14, which included calling Igesund a “donkey”.
Ertugral was bemoaning what he perceived to be the physical nature of the game, in which the flash point was the elbowing by United defender Gary Goldstone of Chiefs striker Tshepo Bulu.
Last Friday, a letter was delivered to Ertugral informing him of Igesund’s intention to sue the Chiefs coach for defamation.
Igesund was not prepared to comment on the matter yesterday, referring all queries to his lawyer.
“I have hired legal counsel because I want to concentrate on football, and all questions must go to them,” he said.
Igesund’s lawyer, Assif Essa, said: “Gordon’s attitude was that he was not going to tolerate these statements made in the press [by Ertugral] that have sullied his reputation, and he took a conscious decision to do something about this.
“The reason we are not dealing with this through the league in a disciplinary manner is because we feel the statements have impacted on Gordon’s reputation.”
Essa said they have rejected Ertugral’s explanation that the “donkey” reference was in jest.
“The statement by Ertugral calling Gordon a ‘donkey’ was the straw that broke the camel’s back. Thereafter, I immediately engaged the services of a senior counsel to act on Gordon’s behalf.
“The statement was humiliating and tarnished the reputation of Gordon Igesund, and in our opinion defamatory. A donkey in a human, personal context is someone who is unskillful and uneducated.
“And this statement impacts on the reputation of someone regarded as arguably the most successful coach in the country.
“Ertugral went on Robbie Marawa’s show on Radio Metro on Wednesday and said he has tried to contact Gordon to settle the matter personally. He said the statement was made in a jocular sense, but what is the joke in calling someone a donkey?”
Essa said a response has been received from Ertugral’s attorneys.
“We received a response today, which I haven’t had time to digest properly yet. But the gist of it was that Ertugral’s statements were not defamatory, and a denial of our initial communication.”
United chairman Farouk Kadodia stressed that the club have not been involved in the decision to sue the Kaizer Chiefs coach.
“It’s completely a private matter … and we cannot comment on it,” Kadodia said.
Kaizer Chiefs have instituted an internal probe into the matter, according to a statement from managing director Kaizer Motaung on the club’s website.
Chiefs PRO Siyabulela Makunga said: “We respect both individuals involved, but as a professional organisation, Kaizer Chiefs believes it appropriate for [Ertugral] to explain … about the lawsuit that has been served on him.”