Photo: Paulo Cesar Fonseca, aka Tinga
Peru’s president on Thursday joined a growing chorus in condemning racist taunts directed at an Afro-Brazilian soccer player during a Copa Libertadores match between Peruvian club Real Garcilaso and Brazil’s Cruzeiro.
“A country that is as diverse as ours and which bolsters its identity with all its cultures should not accept racist reactions of any kind,” Ollanta Humala wrote on Twitter.
Some Garcilaso fans let loose with monkey chants when Paulo Cesar Fonseca, known as Tinga, took the field for Cruzeiro in the second half of Wednesday’s match in Huancayo, Peru.
The chants resumed every time Tinga, a former Brazilian international who played for Borussia Dortmund in the Bundesliga, touched the ball.
“I played four years in Germany and that never happened to me,” he said after the contest. “Now it happens in a country very similar to ours, with mixtures of races. I would trade a title for racial equality and respect.”
Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff spoke out in solidarity with Tinga, vowing to work with FIFA and the United Nations to keep racism out of the 2014 World Cup, which her country is hosting.
Several of Brazil’s current and former soccer greats, including Neymar, Ronaldo and Ronaldinho Gaucho, also offered Tinga their support.
Real Garcilaso coach Fredy Garcia apologized Thursday to both Tinga and Cruzeiro.
“I did not see what happened, but it’s something very sad,” said the coach, whose team won the match 2-1. “We’re going to investigate everything because Real Garcilaso is a great team and it cannot be connected with episodes of this nature.”