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Mainz protest racial attack on Nigerian duo

Mainz 05 have made a complaint to Hannover 96 over the alleged racial abuse suffered by their Nigerian players before their Bundesliga clash at the HDI-Arena in Hannover on Saturday.

Hannover won the encounter 3-2 to pile the pressure on Mainz, who are battling to steer clear of the relegation battle.

However, the alleged incident of racial abuse aimed at Super Eagles defender Leon Balogun and out-of-favour Nigeria forward Anthony Ujah by a group of the hosts’ fans took some shine off Die Roten’s win.

German-born Balogun expressed his disappointment at the racist chanting aimed at him and his compatriot, who rejoined Mainz from Chinese outfit Liaoning Whowin in December ahead of the January transfer window.

“Ujah and I were racially insulted with ape noises among other things as we warmed up in front of the Hannover fan block.

“I’m shocked that such behaviour exists in 2018 in the Bundesliga, where players of differing backgrounds, skin colours and religions fight daily for their fans,” Balogun, 29, wrote on his Twitter account.

“We give everything for the fans every week, but some of you don’t even give us respect. There shouldn’t be any room for any racism in any stand in the world!”

Mainz, who confirmed the development, said they protested against the incident after the game and “remain in contact with relevant authorities”.

“I’m taken aback by what Leon Balogun and Anthony Ujah had to experience on Saturday,” the O-Fives Sporting Director Rouven Schroeder said on the club’s official website.

“It’s unfathomable that players in the Bundesliga still face racial discrimination to this day.

“FSV Mainz 05 stand together with their players in the fight against racism and all forms of discrimination. Our common goal must be to remove all forms of racism, hate and xenophobia from Germany’s stadiums once and for all.”

Hannover 96 president, Martin Kind, who condemned the incident, criticised the fans who racially abused the Nigerians and tendered the club’s apology.

“I reject such behaviour 200 percent. Such thoughts have no place at Hannover. We apologise in every form to Mainz and the two players,” AP quoted Kind as saying on Monday.

ajike

Ajike is one of Nigeria's top Sportscasters with over 15 years of experience in writing and talking Sports.

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