Japanese Goalkeeper Faces Racial Abuse Online Following Asian Cup Errors

Soukaina Sghir
Soukaina Sghir
2 Min Read

Zion Suzuki, the goalkeeper for Japan, revealed on Monday that he experienced racial abuse on social media after his team’s unexpected defeat to Iraq at the Asian Cup. This incident adds to a series of racist abuse instances directed at players in Italy and England during recent matches.

Suzuki, a 21-year-old with a Ghanaian-American father and Japanese mother, faced criticism for his performance, especially for an error that led to Iraq’s opening goal in Doha. He had also made mistakes in the previous game against Vietnam.

Despite accepting criticism for his on-field performances, Suzuki expressed his desire for people to refrain from making racist comments. In a statement to reporters before Japan’s final group game against Indonesia, he asserted that while he won’t let the abuse defeat him, he aims to respond by delivering strong results on the field.

Comments on Suzuki’s Instagram account appeared to have been disabled following the incident. The wave of racist abuse in football has prompted FIFA president Gianni Infantino to advocate for worldwide stadium bans for fans and “automatic forfeits” for teams whose supporters engage in racist behavior. This call comes after instances of racist chants were directed at players in Italy and England over the weekend.

During AC Milan’s match against Udinese, fans directed monkey chants at France goalkeeper Mike Maignan, leading to a temporary halt in the game. Coventry midfielder Kasey Palmer also accused Sheffield Wednesday fans of making similar chants during their Championship clash.

As Suzuki, winning only his sixth cap, faces the challenges of racism, he remains confident in his abilities as Japan seeks to secure qualification for the last 16 in their upcoming match against Indonesia on Wednesday. The incident underscores the ongoing issue of racism in football and the need for concerted efforts to address and eradicate such behavior.

Soukaina Sghir

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