Congo captain Mbemba subjected to online racist abuse after AFCON game with Morocco

AP , Monday 22 Jan 2024

Congo captain Chancel Mbemba was subjected to a torrent of racist abuse on social media after leading his team to a 1-1 draw against Morocco at the Africa Cup of Nations on Sunday.

DR Congo s defender #22 Chancel Mbemba (CR) argues with Morocco s staff during the Africa Cup of Nations (CAN) 2024 group F football match between Morocco and DR Congo at Stade Laurent Pokou in San Pedro on January 21, 2024. AFP

Mbemba’s Instagram account was targeted by many users who replied to his latest posts with monkey or gorilla emojis, or wrote racist comments.

The 29-year-old Mbemba, who is Black, plays for top-tier French club Marseille.

Mbemba had a heated exchange with Morocco coach Walid Regragui after the match. It led to a melee between players and officials from both teams that continued as they left the field and went down the players’ tunnel.

Regragui sought Mbemba after the game when the player was on his knees giving thanks in a personal moment. Mbemba took Regragui’s hand and clapped him on the back as it appeared he thought it was a friendly exchange. But Regragui kept hold of Mbemba’s hand and carried on talking. The player angrily pulled his hand away and gestured for the video referee before players from both sides jumped in.

Mbemba suggested to journalists after the game in San Pedro that Regragui had insulted him.

“I’m keeping my silence, it’s better. Everybody knows me, I respect everyone … but I never thought I’d hear that word from the coach, that it would come from his mouth,” Mbemba said.

There was no immediate reaction from Regragui.

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