The A-League has called upon football fans across the country to condemn and eradicate racism towards its players, with Adelaide United’s Kusini Yengi the latest to be subjected to racial abuse online.
- Adelaide United’s Kusini Yengi was instrumental in the team’s win over Melbourne Victory
- He was later racially vilified in comments attached to an Instagram post
- The two teams are investigating
Yengi put in a game-changing performance against Melbourne Victory on Saturday night, providing the spark off the bench as the Reds came from behind to win 3-1.
The 22-year-old stepped onto the pitch with the score at 1-1 and immediately hit the post with his first attack, before scoring his first goal for the club to give the Reds the lead.
Minutes later, he won the ball back in Adelaide’s attacking third and calmly set up captain Stefan Mauk, whose late goal sealed the result.
Following the match, Yengi was racially abused in comments on his Instagram account, including a post showing gorilla emojis.
Adelaide United released a statement following the incident, saying it was appalled by the comments.
“The entire club is behind Kusini and will support him as the matter is investigated further by the league and police.”
On Monday, the Australian Professional Leagues (APL) — which represents the A-League — urged fans across the country to help wipe out abuse towards its players.
“Our game in this country has always been about diversity and it remains one of our greatest strengths,” managing director Danny Townsend said.
“As part of that football community, and in my position as the MD of the newly formed APL, I condemn the actions of these few in the strongest possible terms.
“We are working with our clubs, the PFA (Professional Footballers Australia) and the local police to try and identify these idiots and bring them to account.”
Melbourne Victory also condemned the comments, saying it “does not condone or tolerate racism in any form”.
“This club has been built on embracing diversity and sees football as a platform to unite fans no matter what background,” it said.
“To see that Kusini Yengi has been subjected to racist online comments overnight is incredibly disappointing and the club has been working with Adelaide United and the relevant authorities to investigate this matter further.”
Reds to do ‘everything we can’ to find culprits
Adelaide United’s director of football Bruce Djite responded to the incident and admitted he was not confident the culprits would be identified.
“It’s very hard with social media — on social media you’ve got platforms where identity is hard to track sometimes,” he said.
Djite said it was disappointing that the abuse has overshadowed Kusini’s jubilant goal celebration.
“I think Kusini’s goal celebration will be an iconic moment in the [ongoing] rivalry which we have with Melbourne Victory,” Djite said.
“For it to be overshadowed — such a fantastic moment for a young guy who’s supported the club from a very, very young age … to now being a player at our club, and to be here today talking about racism more than the goal — it’s exceptionally disappointing.”
Djite said Yengi was in good spirits and was looking forward to moving on from the incident.