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SAFA makes strong stand against racist Eymael; rallies FIFA, CAF for further injunctions

By Peter Tabu
Belgian coach Luc Eymael was sacked by Yanga Africans over racist remarks towards the club fans | Courtesy photo

The South African Football Association (SAFA) is taking matters very serious regarding controversial Belgian coach Luc Eymael.

Through a statement released on Tuesday, SAFA expressed their dismay regarding Eymael’s recent racist comments in Tanzania as head coach of Yanga Africans where he was sacked for referring to the club fans as ‘dogs and monkeys’ in an interview.

“SAFA has noted with dismay the despicable conduct of coach Luc Eymael in the Tanzanian Premier League,” read part of SAFA’s statement.

“We want to express our solidarity and support for the Tanzania FA and the Yanga FC. Our own history, principles and beliefs compel us to reject racism in all its forms.”

“This conduct militates against Nelson Mandela’s understanding of the role of sport in our society that it has the power to change the world, power to inspire and unite people in a way that little else does.”

The rainbow nation football governing body now wants to rally the South African Sports Ministry, CAF and FIFA in order to put an end to Eymael’s behaviour going forward.

SAFA has promised to raise an objection to any consideration of granting Eymael a work permit in South Africa in the future and has vowed to bring the matter to the attention of both FIFA and CAF.

“It is further unfortunate that this situation comes in the wake of the global campaign of Black Lives Matter. Africa has the bitter experience of its people being captured and taken as slaves on other continents,” the statement continued.

Yanga sacked Eymael on Monday after he made racist remarks towards his own set of fans, likening their chants to monkeys and dogs.

“I am disgusted. I don’t have a car, Wi-Fi or DSTV. These fans don’t know anything about football. It’s like monkeys or dogs when they’re shouting,” Eymael was reported saying.

However, speaking to BBC Sport, the Belgian has expressed his remorse over the comments and apologized for what he said.

“I was provoked by a fan from our rivals Simba and I apologized on Friday for my comments.”

The Tanzania Football Association (TFF) has also waded into the matter, saying it will take disciplinary action against Eymael and initiate legal proceedings against the Belgian for what it termed as racist remarks towards the country’s football fans.

Eymael has a lot of experience working on the continent, Yanga was his 12th club in Africa, after stints in DR Congo, Gabon, Algeria, Kenya, Rwanda, Tunisia, Sudan, Egypt and three times in South Africa.

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