Bidvest Wits coach Gavin Hunt has hit back at allegations of racism made towards him by Al Ahly striker Amr Gamal.
Gamal was on loan at Wits from Al Ahly in the 2017/18 season, where his most memorable contribution was scoring three goals in four Telkom Knockout games to help the Clever Boys to the title.
The 28-year-old left under a dark cloud and has now accused Hunt of racism and for blocking a move to Russian giants Rubin Kazan which he believes sabotaged his chances of playing at the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
"I was (Wits') top goal scorer and I led them to win the (Telkom Knockout) cup. But the coach insulted and humiliated me, and we even had a physical altercation. I was only defending myself," Gamal told Egypt’s OnTime Sport 2 TV channel, according to KingFut.com.
"He was arrogant and a racist, even his statements were provocative. They didn't allow me to play even though I was the team's top scorer.
"He told me: 'I won't let you return to Al Ahly and you won't play in the World Cup.' And at the time I received an offer from Rubin Kazan, I thought it would’ve been a great opportunity for me and a chance to play in the World Cup in Russia.
"Al Ahly didn’t mind the transfer, but Bidvest refused to let me go and the transfer window eventually closed. That’s why I was forced to play in Finland."
The Students' mentor has since condemned the allegations, labelling Gamal's comments as 'out of line' and a 'joke'.
"I don't know what he's talking. I've never heard of Ruben Kazan, and how could I be racist towards him? I mean, that’s a disgrace man," Hunt told KickOff.
"Is it that he's Muslim and I'm Christian? I mean, please. I don't know if he's referring to me, because I never had an altercation with him.
"Maybe he's saying the manager - Jose (Ferreira, former Wits CEO), but that's not me. I don't decide on his moves, I knew nothing about Kazan man, that's office business.
"All that rubbish about not playing in the World Cup, how can I decide that? It's got nothing to do with me, it’s complete nonsense. He's talking about top scorer, with what? Three goals in 20 games?
"We paid him for that. He was staying in Melrose Arch - gee-whiz, you should have seen how he trashed the place, we had to pay two months’ rent to fix it up after he left.
"His claims are nonsense. I certainly had nothing to do with it. He was walking and standing around here on the pitch, doing nothing, and that’s why he didn't play. I had no altercations, and racist? That’s out of line, what a joke."
- TEAMtalk media