Adelaide United striker Kusini Yengi discussed the online racial abuse he was subjected to in the wake of scoring his maiden goal against Melbourne Victory on Saturday night.
The Club released a statement condemning the incident the following day and on Tuesday Yengi shared his thoughts, believing the bigotry he received overshadowed what was supposed to be a memorable moment.
“I think it kind of took away from a special moment which was me scoring my first A-League goal,” Yengi told reporters at a press conference at Coopers Stadium.
“So it’s a bit disappointing. After the game there was a lot of good messages congratulating me and stuff, but obviously a few that were a bit uncomfortable to look at it and just takes away from a special moment.”
The 22-year-old had a message for the perpetrators.
“I’d say that everyone just needs to be kind to one another and promote love and not negative energy,” he said.
“We’re all humans and we’re all trying to do our best at whatever we do and giving people negative and making comments like that doesn’t help anyone.”
Yengi said he has since received overwhelming support from the Professional Footballers Australia (PFA), the Club as well as family and friends.
“The PFA have been in contact with me, and I’ve spoken to them and they’re here to support me,” he said.
“Everyone at the club has been very supportive ever since it happened… Everyone’s been in contact with me and looking after me and making sure I’m alright.
“So I’ve got a lot of support from the club and my family.”
Yengi provided a game-changing performance off the bench as he fired the visitors in front before assisting Stefan Mauk for his brace to seal a 3-1 win.
The forward was pleased with his contribution and said the celebration which included taunting the Victory fans was a spontaneous decision.
“It was very exciting,” he said.
“I came on and almost scored straight away but it didn’t end up going in the back of the net and when it did I just got a rush of adrenaline.
“It (the celebration) wasn’t something that was planned before the game it just happened in the moment.
“I grew up supporting Adelaide and the derby means a lot to me so it was just an amazing moment and I felt like I should just go over there and give it to the Victory fans.”
Despite the racist abuse and criticism from some quarters about the perceived lack of respect, Yengi remained defiant, insisting this experience will not prevent him from altering his celebrations in the future.
“No matter what anybody says to me I’m going to me and show my character,” he affirmed.
“So everything that’s happened isn’t going to stop me from doing it in the future.”
Next match details:
Sunday, 21 March vs Newcastle Jets
A-League 2020/21 – Matchweek 13
Kick-off 6.10pm ACDT
Venue: McDonald Jones Stadium
Broadcast: Fox Sports
Stream: Kayo Sports, MyFootball Live App