The story of Carlos Kameni is inextricably linked to Spanish football's struggle against racism. The Málaga goalkeeper spoke to radio show El Larguero about the sickening abuse he has received during his career, and how it reflects on Spain as a country.
'The referee asked me if I wanted to stop the game'
‘The worst experience I have had was in a match against Zaragoza, during my first season at Espanyol. We were winning 0-1, and they [the home crowd] were saying all sorts to me. It got to the point where the referee asked me if I wanted to stop the game, but I was determined to continue. Two weeks later, the same thing happened to Samuel Eto’o, to whom the crowd made monkey gestures. I felt awful.’
Kameni has also shouldered abuse in a match against Atlético Madrid: ‘On one occasion, the crowd at the Calderón threw bananas at me. In the mixed zone after the match, I said that if it happened again, I would eat the banana, because there are children in this world that are dying of hunger.’ It is worth noting that when this episode took place, Kameni was a young man, barely in to his twenties.
The fight against racism continues
The number of racist incidents in stadiums has reduced markedly, but not completely. ‘It’s barbaric that in 2017, we still have to talk about this issue. The years will continue to pass, and our children will still be talking about it. It has to end now.’ The Cameroonian, who is somewhat of a clean-sheet specialist at Camp Nou, having frustrated Barça there on four occasions, continued, ‘I don’t understand how these people continue to be allowed in to the stadiums. They wouldn’t dare to do it at home or in the street.’
Kameni: Spain is not a racist country
Despite all he has been subjected to, Kameni understands that the perpetrators are in the vast minority: ‘It’s a minority of the people. We can’t say that Spain is a racist country, but this minority sullies the reputation of the entire Spanish identity. These people don’t represent any fanbase. They’re people that are bored at home; they don’t go to the stadium to enjoy the football, but to vent their pent up anger at people who they deem to be guilty of something.’
The 33 year old has played 25 times for Málaga, currently managed by Míchel, so far this season.