Two teammates from Egyptian club Future FC traded blows after drawing 0-0 at BUL FC of Uganda in a CAF Confederation Cup preliminary round first leg on Saturday.
Eyewitnesses told AFP that veteran goalkeeper Mahmoud ‘Genesh’ Abdel Rahim and midfielder Ahmed Refaat had to be separated by other members of the team as the African club season kicked off.
The cause of the anger between ‘Genesh’ and Refaat was not immediately known, but they constantly argued with each other during the second half.
Apart from the verbal clashes, Abdel Rahim was kept busy and made several superb saves as BUL sought to build an aggregate lead ahead of the return match in Egypt next weekend.
But the home team could not unlock the visitors’ defence, leaving Future as favourites to win the second leg and meet Buffles Borgou of Benin or Kallon FC of Sierra Leone in a last-32 tie.
BUL and Future are debutants in the African equivalent of the UEFA Europa League. After three qualifying round, 16 clubs advance to the group phase, where prize money kicks in.
While Ugandan clubs have made little impact in the Confederation Cup, the competition has been won by the two Egyptian giants, Al Ahly and Zamalek.
Ahly and Zamalek are competing in the richer and more prestigious CAF Champions League this season, leaving Future and Pyramids to carry the Egyptian flag in the Confederation Cup.
Goals were scarce in five first legs on Saturday with five matches producing only seven and BUL and Future were among the five teams who failed to find the net.
The match with the most goals came in the Cameroon capital of Yaounde where African debutants AS Sante Abeche of Chad lost 2-1 at Ferroviario Beira of Mozambique.
Abeche were forced to stage their home fixture in the neighbouring central African country because Chad does not have an international-standard stadium.
In another first leg in Cameroon, local club PWD Bamenda led for much of a match against Elgeco Plus of Madagascar before conceding a late goal and having to settle for a 1-1 draw.