A column by soccer-writer Mninawa Ntloko of South Africa’s Business Day deals with the recent firing of Vladimir Vermezovic (right), coach of the South African Premier Soccer League’s Kaizer Chiefs. The article, published on 18 April, chronicles a stormy relationship the coach had with the media and others. Ntloko recalled the time when the coach stormed out of a press conference in Johannesburg in October of 2010. The volatile Vlad appeared to be on the verge of impaling the journalists because he was upset that he had been “misquoted” by the Daily Sun. The paper had printed an article in which the coach criticized the play of one of his star players–Kaizer Motaung Jr., whose father is executive chairman of the team.
It turns out that the reporter from the paper had a tape recording of the interview, which exonerated the reporter and the Daily Sun. Later, the coach acknowledged that he had not read the article properly and was misinformed. He apologized to the Daily Sun–“and only the Daily Sun“–two days after his outburst. The apology ruffled the feathers of the soccer scribes. They were miffed that he did not apologize to the entire group. The reporters then tried to give him the silent treatment.
A few days later, he apologized more generally. Here’s what he said during that apology/explanation, as presented as, I guess, only a Serbian can–according to a 21 October 2010 posting by www.kickoff.com:
“I said what I said [at the village in Naturena]. I was emotional and coming from Serbia, sometimes from that we think with the balls not the brain. My English is not so perfect and I was in trouble.
“I would like this opportunity to apologise to everybody. During my time here I have had a good relationship with the media and we can continue in that way.”
The balls/brain distinction is classic. But now the relationship is over.