WINDHOEK — Namibia Football Association secretary general, Barry Rukoro again courted controversy for violent conduct after allegedly assaulting Cosafa president, Philip Chiyangwa (pictured) in South Africa on Friday.
Details of the showdown remain sketchy, but The Namibian Sport understands that Rukoro reportedly struck Chiyangwa, who doubles as head of the Zimbabwean Football Association, following a difference in opinion during a heated discussion on the sidelines of Cosafa’s annual general meeting held in Johannesburg.
Chiyangwa declined to comment on the incident when contacted by The Namibian Sport. However, NFA president Frans Mbidi confirmed that he was aware of the altercation.
“I was informed about the incident,” he said on Monday.
Rukoro, who has a chequered history of unbecoming behaviour, appears likely to escape retribution though, with no formal complaint having been filed.
He too failed to respond to The Namibian Sport’s questions by Tuesday afternoon.
“It’s all up to Cosafa. The NFA was not officially informed about any charge of misconduct, and, therefore, cannot do anything,” Mbidi said.
Despite being unwilling to publicly speak about the issue, Chiyangwa told Zambian FA head, Andrew Kamanga of what had transpired in a WhatsApp conversation, part of which The Namibian Sport is privy to.
Chiyangwa did not deny the authenticity of the screenshot conversation.
“We need to talk. Mbidi’s SG attacked me at the hotel,” Chiyangwa wrote to Kamanga, who responded: “I saw that, and was wondering where it came from.”
A flamboyant and boisterous figure, who divides opinion back home in Zimbabwe, Chiyangwa is said to have irked Rukoro when asking about his alleged attacker’s strained relationship with Mbidi.
Rukoro’s employment contract runs out at the end of March, and Mbidi has indicated that the long-serving official will not be offered a new deal.
Mbidi’s pronouncement has stoked tensions, with Rukoro, whom Mbidi suspended and then reinstated around this time last year, reportedly planning to use his considerable influence within the NFA executive to prolong his stay as the football mother body’s secretariat’s figurehead.
Rukoro is no stranger to violence-related controversy, having been arrested on a charge of assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm after tying a 15-year-old boy to a tree and beating the teenager, whom he accused of stealing a mobile phone on October 4, 2011.
Earlier that year in May, Rukoro also made headlines after punching a freelance media consultant in the face at the end of a press conference, having being displeased with his line of questioning.
Both cases were settled out of court.