Malawi football coach and former player Tom Saintfiet has reported Nigerian coach Stephen Keshi for his racist remarks on African sports television. The complaint was received by the Football Association of Malawi (FAM) who passed the complaint further onto Fifa, the international governing body of football.
Tensions have been brewing between the coaches since the Belgian born Malawi coach requested that the location of their World Cup qualifying match in Calabar, Nigeria, was unsafe. The two teams are meant to play one another on September 7th in the Nigerian U. J. Esuene Stadium.
Saintfiet says he was initially concerned when he was told that the match needed bomb squad inspections in order to be approved by Fifa; and denied "he's insulting anyone" by calling the area unsafe. Calabar, in south eastern Nigeria, has no history of security problems.
Keshi, 51 has managed the Nigerian team since 2011 and lead them to their African Cup victory in February this year, responded on national television by calling him "crazy" and "mad" for suggesting that his home country was dangerous and wished he could "say it to his face", he then went on to say that the coach "is not an African person, he is a white dude. He should go back to Belgium".
The 40 year old Belgian coach has said that he's "very sad" about the comments but refuses to respond with "any bad words about Mr Keshi, nor Nigeria".
Saintfiet was Belgium's youngest football manager at 24 and has worked with other African teams such as Zimbabwe, Ethiopia and Nambia has chosen to stand by his decision of moving the match, he believes that "If a European said something of this nature about an African, you would have a huge problem" and urges Fifa to take his complaint seriously as he believes racism works in "both directions".