Football Association of Malawi (Fam) has thrown its weight behind Flames coach Tom Saintfiet’s decision to report Nigeria coach Stephen Keshi to Fifa on alleged case of racism.
Keshi is reported to have said the Belgian coach is “a white dude who must go back to Belgium.”
“If he wants to talk to Fifa, he should go back to Belgium. He is not an African person, he is a white dude, he should go back to Belgium,” Keshi said.
“I have never used any words like these to any coach. He has no right, who is he? All other countries play in Calabar. Calabar is one of the safest places in Nigeria… He is mad. I wish I could say it to his face,” Keshi was quoted.
Saintfiet reacted that the words were tantamount to racism and says he will take the matter to Fifa.
“It is unacceptable that any person says these words – it is clear racism. It is 100% sure that my lawyers will lodge a complaint with Fifa,” he said.
The row erupted earlier this month when the Fam wrote to Fifa, seeking a new venue for their 7 September Group F qualifier away to the Super Eagles – a match which Malawi, who trail Nigeria by two points, must win to progress to the play-offs.
“These words create hate and aggression, and creates a risk ahead of the match in Calabar,” Saintfiet said.
“These comments are unacceptable and I am very sad about them. I will not say any bad words about Mr Keshi, nor Nigeria – I only spoke about moving the game. If Fifa takes racism seriously, then you have to take it seriously in both directions. If a European said something of this nature about an African, you would have a huge problem. I am against racism in all directions.”
Now Fam has thrown its weight behind Saintfiet and general secretary Suzgo Nyirenda said they support the decision to complain to Fifa.
“Yes, we are also concerned with what Mr Keshi said. It is bit worrying when such words are used. Apart from that the hate speech he used could be a recipe for trouble at the game. We don’t want anyone to be under such circumstances when we go to Nigeria,” he said.
“So, yes we fully support the coach’s decision and will meet with the coach this week and map the way forward on this issue because we want Fifa to do something on this matter as well.”