PMB man sparks Twitter war after calling sport minister insensitive

2015-01-21 00:00

A PIETERMARITZBURG high school soccer coach got embroiled in a Twitter war when he called the Minister of Sport Fikile Mbalula “insensitive”.

Michael Dibben even drew the wrath of followers of 5FM morning jock DJ Fresh who defended Mbalula.

Mbalula — who goes by the Twitter handle @MbalulaFikile — tweeted the hashtag #jesuisbafanabafana after the national side’s 3-1 defeat loss to Algeria in the Afcon 2015 soccer tournament held in Guinea Bissau.

Dibben called him out, insisting it was wrong to correlate the recent ­murders of 12 people in a terrorist attack at French magazine Charlie Hebdo in Paris earlier this month to a soccer match. The attack, which has sparked peaceful protests, has used the hashtag #jesuischarlie (I am Charlie) as an ­online rallying point.

Dibben replied: “@MbalulaFikile way to senselessly correlate our football side losing to 12 people losing their lives.”

Dibben said to The Witness: “I have a friend in Paris who is deeply troubled by the recent attacks. I just felt correlating the death of 12 innocent people to a loss of a soccer game was wrong.”

But just minutes later DJ Fresh said to Dibben, “You did that!” — in other words, alleging Dibben made the connection about the terrorist attack and the 3-1 loss, and not Mbalula.

“After DJ Fresh responded, other Twitter users got involved who even called me a racist. I have since deleted those tweets. It just got blown out of proportion. I guess it quickly became an issue about race just because I was white and they were black.”

Dibben said while everyone is ­entitled to freedom of speech, he felt his was impeded when he was unfairly attacked.

But the soccer-mad coach said he believes Bafana Bafana can make it to the Afcon semi-finals.

“Coach Shakes Mashaba is the right man for the job. I just hope Safa backs him and if they do, we can and will win an Afcon tournament again.”

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