African Soccer Player Charges Maccabi Haifa Supporters With Racial Abuse

Maccabi Haifa says in response that 'there were indeed a small number of supporters who criticized him verbally, but it was not race-based.'

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A South African soccer player, currently on loan to a club in his home country, is refusing to return to his team in Israel because of what he says it racial abuse.

Dino Ndlovu still has two-and-a-half years remaining in his contract with Maccabi Haifa, but he says going back is not an option, according to African soccer website Kickoff.

“I don’t want to go back there,” Ndlovu said. “I’ve had difficulties there over the last three months and asked the team to loan me out after the club’s fans racially abused me."

“The fans were booing me and told me to go home to Uganda," Ndlovu said. "I could not bear the fact that I was away from home and I’m a foreigner, so that’s why I came home.”

Although he is still contracted to Maccabi, Ndlovu says the club has agreed to sell him to another club should there be interest.

Ndlovu is now playing for South African club SuperSport United on a six-month loan from Maccabi Haifa.

"As a club, we haven't encountered race-based violence against Dino Ndlovu," Maccabi Haifa said in response to Ndlovu's charges. At no game, with all the thousands of spectators, journalists, TV broadcasts and referees, was there any racist incident involving the player."

"There were indeed a small number of supporters who criticized him verbally, not because of his origin but for various reasons. In some of the instances, the criticism was accompanied by verbal violence, which we deplore, of course, but it was not race-based. His interpretation is wrong."

Maccabi Haifa soccer fans.Credit: Sharon Bokov