WATCH | Former Chiefs and Bafana striker Nomvethe talks about horrific racism experience while in Italy
Former African Wanderers, Kaizer Chiefs, Orlando Pirates and Bafana Bafana star striker Siyabonga “Bhele” Nomvethe has opened up about the racist abuse he suffered in Europe.
Nomvethe played for Udinese, Salernitana and Empoli in Italy and for Djurgården in Sweden and Aalborg BK in Denmark, where he won league titles at the clubs.
Locally, the former PSL Top Goal-scorer also turned out for Swallows and AmaZulu and starred for the SA U23 side (Amaglglug-glug).
“Especially when I was in Italy, there was that thing of racism. They call you a monkey when they like and some threw bananas. It happened to me in a game we played against Chievo.
“One of their players said something stupid related to racism but I didn’t know because it was in Italian and I didn’t understand the language at that time. One of my teammates noticed what they were saying and started fighting them.
“He asked them how they could call me by such a name because I am a human being like them. That player who was saying those things was playing for the national team of Italy and he was a top striker.
“In that game there were seven red cards and it was a big issue. When you are playing in the Champions League and Europa League, you go to those places where, when you have the ball, they make monkey chants or thrown banana skins to the ground.
“Those are the things one would face in Europe and sometimes you will not even want to go to town to find people look at me funny. It happened but I see they are fighting it in football. Sports is for everyone and people must enjoy when watching it.”
Nomvethe, who featured in two Fifa World Cups and many Caf Cup of Nations tournaments, also spoke about the impact coach Pitso Mosimane is having on young local coaches.
Mosimane coached Egyptian giants Al Ahly to back-to-back Caf Champions League titles and is now in charge of Al-Ahli in Saudi Arabia ,where has been tasked with returning the club to the Premier League.
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