Chileans were not too kind nor sympathetic to Chivas players' plight regarding the swine flu outbreak in Mexico.
With the disease reaching pandemic proportions, Chileans were not at all welcoming nor sympathetic to Chivas' plight.
Chivas players Gonzalo Pineda and Hector Reynoso said they encoutnered unfriendly Chileans while out at a local marketplace in Viña Del Mar, site of Chivas' Copa Libetadores match against Everton on Wednesday.
"They made us feel like lepers and I don't think it was necessary," Chivas' Gonzalo Pineda said.
Although Chivas players are used to heckling and jeers, those are typically raining down on players from the stands at opposing teams' venues. Shopping for souvenirs is not a typical place to fac criticism but Pineda and Reynoso had to endure a hostile environment.
"It made us feel bad," Pineda said. "When we went to the marketplace, everyone covered their mouths when they'd see us pass by. They didn't want to get near us. They'd pass by and turn their heads or they'd say 'Here come the Mexicans, they're going to infect us.'"
The swine flu outbreak in Mexico has claimed more than 150 lives and infected more than 2,000 others, according to reports. In the span of several days, cases have sprung up across the globe as swine flu has infected people in Canada and New Zealand, Scotland and the United States.
Chile, however, have had not reported cases, but that does not mean Chivas players have not heard about the outbreak while in South America.
"You turn the television on and all you hear about is the flu and Mexico is mentioned a lot," Reynoso said.
Even though Mexico has been the source of the swine flu, Reynoso said they were unfairly targeted.
"It's almost like a type of discrimination and even to an extent sort of like racism," Reynoso said. "I think it was because of some misinformation as well as too much information about the matter," Reynoso said.
While the players were ridiculed and harassed, in the end the purpose of the trip was to play a Copa Libertadores match.
"The people at the marketplace got out from in front of us, they covered their mouths, they ridiculed us, they laughed at us a little but in the end we knew that sort of situation was possible," Reynoso said. "But we know what we came here for was to play football."
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