Ligue 1

Miguel Cardoso's Scathing Rebuke

The scathing rebuke from coach Miguel Cardoso following the events he experienced during the capital derby against Club Africain. (Photo Taraji+)
The scathing rebuke from coach Miguel Cardoso following the events he experienced during the capital derby against Club Africain. (Photo Taraji+)


Five months after taking the helm of Esperance Sportive de Tunis, Miguel Cardoso experienced a nightmarish capital derby on Sunday evening that left him deeply shaken. Witnessing unimaginable violence, the Portuguese coach let out a scathing tirade, even questioning his future at the club.

Arriving in Tunisia with the ambition of contributing to the development of local football, Cardoso quickly discovered the inner workings of a sometimes tumultuous Tunisian league. But never could he have imagined the horrors he witnessed in the derby against Club Africain. Projectile throwing, smoke bombs, tear gas... The match descended into chaos, leaving the Esperance coach in a state of shock and black anger.

"What happened [Sunday] night has no place in football. It's anything but football," Cardoso said with palpable emotion. "For me, football is a way of life, not a way to die. I didn't come to Tunisia to experience moments like that. Seeing my assistant's blood flowing from his head, receiving projectiles from all sides, it's not normal!" he thundered in the post-match press conference.

Beyond the violence that engulfed the Rades stadium, Cardoso spoke out against the inaction of the authorities in the face of such excesses. "What happened on the pitch [Sunday] is sad and distressing, not only for me and for the players, but also for the Tunisian federation which allows such a match to go to the end. We can't play a match with tear gas on the pitch, nor with battles in the stands. We can't be happy to win in such circumstances and yet I wanted to win this match to offer it to our supporters - absent [Sunday] - who have followed us everywhere this season and who are disappointed with our final defeat in the Champions League."

The coach expressed his deep concern about the future of Tunisian football if it continues on this path. "This is not how the level of Tunisian football will improve. I know derbies, I know rivalry, but this is too much! One day there will be a death if it continues like this without doing anything."

Cardoso hopes that his president, as well as the leaders of Club Africain and the federation, will share his discontent and take action to change things. "I am certain that my president, like me, is not happy with the situation and I hope that this is also the case for the leaders of Club Africain or the officials of the federation. If all those people are not happy with what is happening, they will eventually find solutions."

Despite his attachment to Tunisia and Esperance Sportive de Tunis, Cardoso is seriously concerned about what he has experienced. "I really enjoy being among you, from the first day I felt at ease here, I have experienced great moments and I have expressed it on several occasions. But what I experienced [Sunday] made me think. I told Riadh [Bennour] in the locker room that it might be better for me to leave, because I don't understand what happened. I'm sorry," he confided, his voice full of bitterness.

The future of Miguel Cardoso at Esperance Sportive de Tunis is now uncertain. What is certain is that the Portuguese coach experienced a trauma on Sunday evening, and that he expects strong action from the Tunisian football authorities to ensure that such events never happen again.

In conclusion, Cardoso reiterated his call for deep and immediate reform. "This is not football, this is not how we will export Tunisian football, this is not how we will educate young players. What example are we setting for them?"

Cardoso's outburst has shaken the Tunisian football world. It is now to be hoped that his words will not fall on deaf ears and that concrete measures will be taken to put an end to the barbarity in the stadiums.