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Safa raps against racism

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To most of us in the warmer climates and many parts of the world which consider themselves civil, that type of conduct is rarely, if ever, tolerated

Here we are in 2019 and that ‘evergreen’ monster called racism has reared its ugly head again in far off Europe, but its severity and persistence was so bad that it prompted our own football bosses to raise their voices in condemnation of it.

You might not be aware that as recent as about a week ago the England national football team went out to play against Bulgaria in the Euro 2020 qualifiers, something akin to our own CAF Afcon championship.

As you know, many players who ply their trade in the Uefa region were either born in the CAF zone or have relations in that part of the world, or they have some distinct connection with it.

The point is that during England’s game against Bulgaria some not so civilised spectators from the host country sought out the darker complexioned players for ridicule and generally aimed to make them feel unwelcome.

The England players, as well as the match referees, seconded by Uefa-Fifa objected to this taunting of the darker-skinned players by the Bulgaria fans. They stopped the match and devised some intervention.

To most of us in the warmer climates and many parts of the world which consider themselves civil, that type of conduct is rarely, if ever, tolerated.

In point of fact, most teams in especially the Uefa region make it a point to have as culturally and racially diverse a team as is possible.

To the point that not to have a diverse team in this day and age is frowned upon and definitely makes it seem as if that is a bit of a backward country or club.

The long and short of the story is that Uefa, through its representatives on the ground at that match, made a plan to stop the abuse of the English players.

The Bulgarian fans, and by extension, their national football association, were widely condemned for their unsporting behaviour. We condemn that behaviour too.

We here in this part of the world know all too well the dangers of subjecting people who look different from yourself to ridicule of any description. For that reason we, like most civilised parts of the world, have over the years made plans to put a stop to it.

It is for that reason that in some sports arenas in our country you will see signs inside the stadia that outlaw that type of racially biased conduct during a sports event by both fans and players.

To our business now.

Remember that watchlist we put out some time back about Highlands Park FC? The other team on that list was Polokwane City. This past weekend Highlands reached yet another milestone in their short, revived history in local football.

Highlands Park, coached by the able Owen “Rubber Doll” Da Gama booted out the luckless Baroka FC from the last 16 stage of the Telkom Knock-Out competition and advanced to the quarter-finals. Granted the opposition in the shape of Baroka FC were not great shakes in the greater scheme of things.

But the point is that this was yet another major cup competition that Highlands had put in a serious bid to make it to the winner’s rostrum.

Their last attempt was made as recent as three weeks ago in the just wrapped up MTN8 Cup competition for 2019. In that competition Highlands were unlucky to come second best to Matsatsantsa a Pitori aka Super Sport United.

In anyone’s copy book those are pretty serious attempts by a not so well endowed team. Wherever Highlands Park will end up in the current TKO competition will be a best place in my book. Salang.