Elias Kachunga, Danny Williams And Michael Hefele: 'Show Racism The Red Card'
Mohammed Bhana, Huddersfield Town Football Ambassador
Three members of David Wagner’s multicultural first team squad, Elias Kachunga, Danny Williams and Michael Hefele have unequivocally called for youngsters in the local area to build a social network of friends from all walks of life, to combat all forms of discrimination.
It was emphasised by the players that it is not acceptable -or correct - to discriminate against people based on the colour of their skin, during the Huddersfield Town Foundation’s educational ‘Show Racism the Red Card’ and ‘One Club, One Community against Hate Crime’ event, which was held at the John Smith’s Stadium.
U.S.A national team midfielder Danny Williams – stressed the importance of the Terriers' togetherness - something he believes to be their greatest asset – to 90 children from three local schools - Dalton Junior School, Thornhill Junior and Mount Pleasant Primary School.
“Whatever colour or whatever hair you have or skin type, we are all different and you see this on the football pitch, yet we all celebrate together,” said the former Reading midfielder.
“There are people from different kind of countries and different mentalities and everything else, but at the end of the day, we are a team.”
Reflecting on his colleague’s comments, Town Defender, Michael Hefele, advised the youngsters to always look out for each other, and display a sense of togetherness, should they face any form of racism.
“Stick with your mates and when you recognise someone who suffers, just help them because it is not good at all and you have to have their back,” said Hefele.
“When you recognise someone else who has had problems with racism, help them and just bring this bad thing down.
“We can stop it together, all of you, all of us, because we are different, these guys are from Congo and Germany and we are like family, we have a good time here and have created some great moments together.
“If it wasn’t like this, we couldn’t be friends and achieve so many things together on the pitch, so just stick together and show racism the red card in your own situation.”
Democratic Republic of the Congo winger, Elias Kachunga, relayed a story about how he was once racially abused by opposition fans, during a game in Germany.
“I have only experienced it once,” said Kachunga.
“Some supporters on a different team made monkey noises towards me, but I only focused on myself because some people say stupid things, I just went to the referee and reported it.
“Sometimes you meet stupid people but you have to not to care about these people because you have to show them that you will not get angry.”
The 25-year old encouraged the youngsters to work hard and help bring about change.
“It is down to you guys, you are young and you can change things in the future, so you have the ability to help change things and help give racism the red card.”
Kachunga was praised by his team mate, Williams, who cited an incident involving his friend, the German-born Ghana international, Kevin-Prince Boateng, who played Premiere League football for Portsmouth and Tottenham.
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“One of my good friends, Kevin Prince Boateng, it happened to him in Italy, they (fans) made monkey noises and I think he just walked off the pitch.
“I think he did the right thing to be fair - because that was the first time I was aware of the racist abuse in Italy and I think it happened to Mario Balotelli too - and he plays for Italy - so it is worse when you play for a national team and the people of your own country abuse you.
“It happened to them two and it has happened to many other footballers too and it was definitely something I was mad about.”
However, he strongly advised the children never to shy away from reporting abuse to the relevant people.
“The most important thing is to take action and make people aware of it, because it could get worse,” said Williams.
“I’ve experienced that when people have been abused, they are too scared to say something and then at the end, they actually felt even worse about it.”
Elias Kachunga, Danny Williams And Michael Hefele: 'Show Racism The Red Card', 4th May 2018, 8:56 AM