Monday, March 19th, 2012
“A banana came down at Samba from the VIP section, as the teams were leaving the field. Who threw it is unknown. Samba picked up the banana and threw it back. In our opinion this was the best and most appropriate response to those responsible.” – Anji’s official statement.
“I am very sad that this happened in front of children who were sitting in the same stand. It is a really bad example for them. I try not to think about racism. I just want to believe that such problems do not exist on a global basis. Maybe I am mistaken but I do want to believe in it.” – Chris Samba.
“I didn’t see anything. This didn’t happen and couldn’t have happened, I watched how our fans behaved in the stadium. They have provided exemplary support to the team. I would like to bring to people’s attention that all these banana stories happen only with one club (Anji). Roberto Carlos has had two bananas this year. No-one saw anything. If this event actually took place, then it was done surreptitiously. It all looks like a provocation [to make Lokomotiv appear racist].” - Lokomotiv president Olga Smorodskaya.
Incidents like this, coupled with the scandalous comments of the Lokomotiv president (see above) will make many people questioning why the hell Russia have the privilege of hosting the 2018 World Cup.
He’s only played 270 minutes, three games, of Russian Premier League football and already Chris Samba has been horrifically racially abused in his new host nation. Russia witnessed the shameful incident at the end of Anji’s 1-nil loss at Lokomotiv on Sunday.
As the Anji players were escaping the pitch down the underground tunnel a banana was hurled straight at Samba’s head. Guus Hiddink and his players all saw the incident, but the footage we have shows them rising above the hate crime by maintaining their dignity without reaction.
Of course, this incident has plenty of precedent with Roberto Carlos having been racially abused with bananas twice in his Anji career to-date.