Hamburg winger Opoku opens up racism incident that led to game abandonment in Germany

Aaron Opoku Duisburg vs Osnabruck 2021-22Getty Images

Ghanaian winger Aaron Opoku has spoken out for the first time following the racist chants directed at him during a German third division match involving Duisburg and Osnabruck at the MSV-Arena in December 2021.

Duisburg welcomed Osnabruck for their 3.Liga clash but the game was halted in the 33rd minute when a racist comment from the stands was directed at Osnabruck winger Opoku.

The away side were furious and walked off the pitch in protest, the first time ever a game was abandoned due to racial abuse in Germany, and although the culprit was identified and thrown out of the ground, the player is still disturbed by the incident.

"I've always swallowed it, but why should you always swallow it? Posed Opoku during a conversation with "The Athletes Room" podcast as reported by Ghanascocernet.

“The trainer said that something has to happen for the world to finally wake up. If there's not even a sign, it will always go on like this.”

According to a police report, on December 19, 2021, a spectator shouted "You monkey can't shoot a corner either" towards the field with the probe later revealing that the comment was directed towards Osnabruck defender Florian Kleinhansl.

In the stadium itself, however, those involved perceived this as a racist insult against Opoku, who was standing next to Kleinhansl, and the game was abandoned 45 minutes after the incident occurred.

Opoku further revealed that the incident left him in bad shape the day after even though he received words of encouragement from other players who had gone through similar incidents before such as Kevin-Prince Boateng.

“I lay in bed all day and didn't do anything. My phone was on airplane mode. I was only available to my parents. I didn't want to have anything to do with anyone," said Opoku, who spent last season on loan at Osnabruck from Hamburg.

Osnabruck’s CEO Michael Welling revealed after the game that the German-born player did not want to resume the game and his teammates walked off in solidarity.

“Aaron [Opoku] wasn’t in a position to continue playing after the incident. He couldn’t carry on, nor would he have wanted to. The team recognised that and expressed their solidarity,” said Welling.

“We don’t want to print anti-racism on T-shirts or just brand around slogans. If you really take this seriously, then you have to act accordingly.”

The 23-year-old was born in Hamburg to Ghanaian parents but is yet to turn out for the Black Stars, having represented Germany at junior level.

Racism in football

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