Free State Stars coach Luc Eymael has defended himself against allegations of disrespect towards South African coaches from Steve Komphela.
The Bloemfontein Celtic boss, formerly of Kaizer Chiefs, was outraged when Eymael reacted to winning the 2018 Nedbank Cup by saying: “I’ve been in South Africa for two years and I’ve won a trophy. People here have been coaching for 13 years and they have nothing.”
Komphela responded by describing Eymael as a “mercenary” on Metro FM, also saying: “You see there’s a big perception by some of these who come here to South Africa — thinking that we South Africans have to lie there and then they must make us carpets.”
Eymael appears to have taken that as an allegation of racism, and has responded by telling Soccer Laduma: “I have never had a problem working with people, whether they are black, blue, pink, red or orange.
“Maybe [he found it a problem] when I said that it was difficult to win a trophy here in South Africa because there are people who have been working here for many years but haven’t won a trophy yet.
“When I said that, I was not talking about him — I’m sure he is not the only one who hasn’t won a trophy here, but he probably thought that I was referring to him. I was merely explaining how difficult it is to win a trophy here.”
Adding to his denial of racism, Eymael said: “You know, just as you were born the colour of your skin, I was also born white and I cannot change that even if I wanted to. I have been in Africa from 2010 already. When people associate stuff like racism with me, I get hurt.”
Clarifying his stance, the Belgian added: ” … On radio, [Komphela] also said that because I come from Europe, I think I can just come here and take their jobs and disrespect them as black South African coaches. I don’t know why he said that because you have never heard any complaints about me from anyone I have worked with.”