Racism not only affecting players but their careers too
Andre Onana came close to leaving Ajax in 2017 but he says the move did not materialize because of the color of his skin. Onana, 23, was born in Cameroon and has been in Europe for the past 12 years. He was a part of the Barcelona academy before switching to Ajax in 2015.
Onana became a regular starter for the Amsterdam giants in the 2016-17 season and helped the club to the Europa League final. A 2-0 defeat to Manchester United was when Onana thought it was time to move on. Speaking to the Dutch newspaper Het Parool, Onana said,” Racism is there, I have to deal with it in almost every away game, but I’m not talking about it.”
“I’m proud to be black. If you find me a monkey, fine. I see no difference between white and black and I make no difference. If you do, that’s your problem. Before each match, it sounds in the stadiums: ‘No to racism’, but racism is not only in football, it is everywhere. Racism was here when I was born, and it will not suddenly disappear tomorrow. One day it will stop. It only needs time and you cannot force it.”
Onana also expressed his concern on how difficult it is for a black goalkeeper to reach on a higher level. After losing the Europa League final, Onana shared an incident where his manager spoke to an interested club but the club decided not to transfer only because of the fact that it would be difficult for the club’s supporters to see a black goalkeeper.
“So, it wasn’t because they didn’t think I was good enough. I consider that as a compliment.” He added. The irony is that there are truly very few top-flight clubs, who have a black goalkeeper. This could be seen as a concern but also the place where Onana could be debated was on the success of black players.
Since racism has started affecting football on a large scale, the world has seen many black players come forward and at the same time are a part of the top-flight clubs without any discrimination taking place. Paul Pogba, Raheem Sterling, Marcus Rashford are some of the top examples of players who have openly come forward in eradicating the issue of racism.
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