Paris Saint-Germain midfielder Idrissa Gueye was perceived as a hero in Senegal after his alleged refusal to wear the rainbow-coloured jersey in a Ligue 1 game, this is according to Sadio Mane’s advisor Bacary Cisse.
When PSG played and defeated Montpellier in a league game on May 14, the Teranga Lions star was absent from the team sheet, and he was later accused of refusing to wear the rainbow jersey; the symbol of the LGBTQ movement. However, according to Cisse, Gueye’s action was well received in his country.
"It's a misunderstanding," Cisse said, as quoted by RMC Sport. "We must not forget that Gueye was born in Senegal. He grew up there, he was educated there.
"We respect everything that others do, but we don't follow them in their culture. Culturally, no one would have understood if he had done anything other than what he did. He's not the only one.
"Today, Gueye has the total support of all Senegalese, of all Africans. In this case, we must not stigmatize the boy. He cannot justify this gesture. He was perceived as a hero in Senegal, of course. For us, Gueye is a hero."
Gueye’s action caused an outcry in France and even the French football federation's ethics board wanted him to answer accusations that he missed the game to avoid wearing a rainbow jersey in support of the LGBTQI+ movement. To Cisse, if the midfielder had chosen to wear the shirt, people in his country ‘would have been shocked’.
"If Gueye had done otherwise, what would we have said? We would have been much more shocked," he added.
For the second straight season, clubs in France were asked to label their shirts with numbers coloured like a rainbow flag, and Gueye had also missed the equivalent match in May last year.
"For me, the main culprit in this affair is the staff of PSG," Cisse said as he defended his compatriot. "They know that they have already had this kind of problem last year.
"Gueye carried out humanitarian action the day before this match [he had organized a charity evening for the fight against cancer and HIV on May 12]. For me, we could spare the player from this meeting."