Footballer Kerfalla Sissoko has opened up to Loopsider about a horrific incident of racial abuse that he and 2 other black footballers suffered In May playing for AS Benfeld during a match vs. AS Mackenheim.
The match occurred as part of the Ligue du Grand Est De Football regional division.
Sissoko’s detailed the encounter as below, which took place at AS Mackenheim’s home in Alsace:
“It was the 43rd minute, we were nearly at half-time, and I see my team-mate on the floor. He had been receiving kicks on his thighs, calves everywhere. And so I come running and I try and stop the others from hitting him. The Mackenheim goalkeeper comes running as well, as if he was going to help me to separate the others. But, he turns to me, hits me in the face, and that’s when everything kicked off.”
The midfielder was then reportedly hit repeatedly and was attacked with a knife, before losing consciousness on the pitch. Had his manager not removed Sissoko’s tongue from his throat, he almost certainly would have died.
Sissoko was hospitalised and suffered three fractures, but was stunningly suspended by the league alongside his aggressors, with sanctions not taking into account alleged racism.
“There were witnesses, who confirmed that they heard “get rid of these blacks,” and “go back to your bush,” stuff like “you are not welcome here.” When the witnesses tried to explain (to the league) what happened, they did not want to hear about it. The league knows very well what happened. This club (Mackenheim) has received complaints from several club presidents about it needing to be cleaned up.”
Sissoko and two other black team-mates have decided to sue for assault and racist abuse.
“Honestly, right now I don’t want to play football. To go onto a football pitch, I have no desire to do that now. I keep seeing this image, I keep seeing how the events played out, when I approach a pitch, a stadium. Even at night, I have nightmares about it.”