'Silent war' can take a new turn tonight

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The long-standing tiff between the two Frenchmen surfaced again when their sides met in the Africa Nations Cup opening game that was won 2-1 by Ghana.

After Portsmouth's Sulley Muntari scored the winning goal LeRoy was seen to make a gesture with his index finger at Nouzaret, an action that incensed the Guinea coach.

“Fortunately, I didn’t hear what Le Roy said to me when they scored, but my staff heard him, and he was on film,” Nouzaret is reported to have the French news agency, AFP.

“I don’t want to repeat what he said, but it was obnoxious. And before the game he ignored me and didn't say hello. That's an attitude that doesn't correspond with my vision of fair play,” he said.

Le Roy defended his actions and claimed Nouzaret was a bad loser.

“All I said to him was ‘that (the winning goal) will stop you talking’, that’s all. I'm amazed Nouzaret says I ignored him on the pitch, I don’t know what he'’ talking about. I don’t have any reply to that, he’s a bad loser.“Before kick-off no one from Guinea came to greet me; that's the first time that’s happened in my career.”

The animosity between the two men runs deep, according to Le Roy, back to 1999 when Le Roy took over from Pierre Mankovski at struggling French First Division side Strasbourg.

“He accused me of being ‘a traitor’ because I took the job of my friend. But I took over after discussing the situation with Pierre, and he told me to take the job.“We were second from bottom in the league and for my first match in charge we beat Saint Etienne who were managed at that stage by Nouzaret.”

“Perhaps Nouzaret didn’t appreciate me saying that Guinea was better organised under Patrice Neveu in 2006 than they are today, but I've always only ever had good things to say about this present Guinea side.”

If both teams qualify for the quarter-finals tonight, you can expect the ‘war’ to hot up, but if Guinea should fall, then LeRoy will no doubt be wearing a big smile on his face.