On Wednesday 23 December 2020, allegations were made against head coach Sanjin Alagic that he had made certain racial comments towards Vihiga United players during a fifth-round match held at the Utalii Grounds from 1pm.
The grave allegations were made on social media after which it was picked by an international portal which spurned the falsehood like wildfire thereby maligning the reputation of the coach, and Nairobi City Stars in sum.
But three players; midfielder Peter Pinchez Opiyo, defender Calvin Masawa and striker Ezekiel Omulo Odera, on behalf of the rest, have come out to clear the coaches’ name in the wake of the sensitive allegations.
Pinchez, who joined Simba wa Nairobi in January 2020 ending six years of playing in Qatar and Finland put forward a strong statement in the wake of the recent occurrence.
This is over and above an official statement released by Nairobi City Stars.
“I’ve been for many times a victim of racial abuse, so as a black person I know how it feels, and I wouldn’t want any one from any race to be subjected to such a sick situation. Therefore, I would be the first one to condemn such utterances, if there were any,”
“Allegations made against our Coach Mr. Sanjin, are very serious and having been there, and heard every single word from him, I must say it’s very uncouth for any person to implicate anyone on such grounds, having in mind how serious this type allegation is treated in our society now,”
“I was very saddened also by bloggers and football lovers, who resorted to writing things, they were not sure of, on different platforms on social media. They were not at the stadium, and when you ask them where they got such material, they say they were told. Very irresponsible!
“There are channels to be followed when such things arise, leave them for the legal teams, don’t go jumping into conclusions because a white man is involved.” Concluded Opiyo
Overall team captain Calvin Masawa, the longest serving City Stars player (since 2011), echoed Peter’s sentiments.
Masawa started off the bench and made his way to the pitch six minutes after the hour mark in place of left back Herit Mungai.
At half time he had a spat with Vihiga United players over the allegations and had to be pulled away by one of the match officials.
This is what he had to say;
“Hello guys, I hope this finds you well. Wishing everyone a Merry Christmas and Happy new year. I’m Calvins Masawa, captain Nairobi City Stars FC,”
“Following the allegations made by Vihiga United players that our head Coach Mr Sanjin Alagic made some racial slur towards them during our match against them at Utalii grounds on Wednesday 23rd, I’m stating categorically that the said statement is baseless, ill-advised and did not happen since I happened to be just yards away from the scene at half time,”
“I’m not here to defend the Coach, because he doesn’t need defending. This is even more obvious now that Goal has retracted an article they published on the allegations and apologized,”
“In addition to this, I still want to show that it is important that we speak. I am sober, confident and honest enough to say such did not happen and will never happen,”
“We as Nairobi City Stars fc Players DO NOT ENCOURAGE racist remarks or discrimination of any nature because we believe in equality and fair play regardless of race, nationality or even ethnicity,”
“Mr Sanjin is always a very social, humble and one easy guy who always socialize and interact with every player(s) and at times as far as the soccer fans, that’s according to the one and a half years we have worked with him. He has never been anything but kind and professional with all of us,”
“So to make such damaging and alleging claims against him is kind of lack of respect to him, his family and the entire Nairobi City Stars family,”
“Lastly I’m urging everyone to stay calm, sober and stop judging or politicizing since racism is a very sensitive issue and should not be raised in such a carefree manner,”
“I hope that the publications who were quick to sensationalize the story, and individuals that were quick to run with the same in their own social media pages, will also be as quick in spreading news of our statement of support, as well as the retraction and apology by Goal.” Concluded Masawa
Odera, who returned City Stars in January for a second stint since 2017, said;
“It has come to my attention that it is alleged that our coach racially insulted Vihiga United players. It is my responsibility as a senior player to voice my sentiments to this critical issue
of racism/insults/harassment. The beautiful game is about love, inclusivity, passion, togetherness,”
“It is very unfortunate because I was actively involved in that match and it is frivolous and damaging for Vihiga United management to bring such accusations against our coach and play with the media over such serious allegations,”
Coach Sanjin Allagic is a very passionate, self driven and sober minded person. He has managed me and other players and its unfortunate for purposes of gaining media sympathy a person would want to damage his good reputation,”
“Kindly let us be impartial and truthful when handling this issue. Our beautiful has come a long way and let’s continue building on the gains achieved. Merry Xmas and a Happy/prosperous New year.” summed Odera
Several other City Stars players have commented on the same in their individual social media pages.
The Utalii game ended 1-1. Vihiga United led 1-0 at half time.