16/04/2024

Picture: AUFC Media

Kusini Yengi's first A-League goal was marred by racial abuse on social media. Yesterday, he shared this message for the public and called for those doing the wrong thing to be educated.

Kusini Yengi lived out every Adelaide United fan’s dream this weekend as he came off the bench and flipped the Original Rivalry on it’s head, scoring a goal and assisting another.

After Yengi found himself on the end of a fantastic team move, he managed to tap the ball in from close range sending travelling United fans into a frenzy.

Yengi, who grew up an Adelaide United supporter, celebrated in a way that will be long remembered by football fans across the country as he leapt over the advertising boards and launched into a now trademark strut.

He stood on his own and eyeballed the enraged Melbourne Victory supporters that ran down the terrace to meet him before he was swarmed by his teammates.

The celebration itself is sure to stand the test of time as one of the most iconic moments in the history of the Original Derby, though Yengi stresses that it was definitely not pre-planned.

“It wasn’t something that was planned before the game, it just happened in the moment,” he said.

“I grew up supporting Adelaide and the derby means a lot to me so it was just an amazing moment and I felt like I should go over there and give it to the victory fans.

“Everyone at the club loved it I think.

“On the night Jakobsen had a word to me and told me to keep my head calm and don’t get too excited but I think everyone loved it.”

Picture: AUFC Media

This was Kusini’s first A-League goal and one that should have been met with nothing but admiration form the football community.

To a large degree it was, but as we have seen time and again, a magical moment was marred by a select few that decided to showcase their lack of common decency by taking to social media to racially vilify a 22-year-old.

Yengi admits that although he tried to push it to the side, the attack certainly dampened what should have become one of his fondest memories.

“I think it kind of took away from a special moment which was me scoring my first A-League goal,” Yengi said.  

“It’s a bit disappointing you know, after the game there was a lot of good messages like everyone congratulating me and stuff but obviously a few that were a bit uncomfortable to look at which just takes away from a special moment.

“I’ve received other stuff before directly into my inbox but this was the first time it had been out there for the public to see as well as me.”

The cowardly act is one of many instances of racial attacks carried out over social media and at games that we see happen every year, whether it be in the A-League or other national sporting competitions.

The reason for doing so seems unfathomable, but Yengi believes that the best way to combat this is through education.

“I think just educating kids especially because we grow up as kids and feed off what other people tell us,” he said.

“We grow up being an adult and everything you learnt as a kid is what you become when you become older.

“Just educating and having discussions and teaching people what’s wrong and what’s right and why that might hurt someone’s feelings and why that person might feel a certain way when you say certain things.

“I think sometimes we kind of just push things away but sometimes, especially racism, it’s something that we should speak up about and talk about so everyone gets a better idea.”

Picture: AUFC Media

A police investigation has been launched and both Adelaide United and Melbourne Victory have been on the front foot in saying that everything will be done in order to catch those responsible.

Yengi admitted he was unsure on what the punishment should be, but again stressed a need for educating those that are ignorant enough to make these mistakes.

“I don’t know if they’re going to find the person that’s done this and I’m not sure when they find them, what I would like to happen to that person,” he said.

“I hope they learn from their lesson if they get caught and that someone educates them and that they’re spoken to and in the future they won’t make these types of comments.

“The PFA have been in contact with me and I’ve spoken to them and they’re here to support me and everyone at the club has been there to support me since it happened.

“I’ve got a lot of support for me from the club and my family.”

A man with an incredibly bright footballing future, Yengi proved his maturity in a moving press conference on Tuesday afternoon.

He cited both his mother and the Adam Goodes documentary as inspiration for why he wanted to speak out and overall, he produced a profound message for the public which all can learn from.

“Everyone just needs to be kind to one another and promote love and not negative energy,” he began.

“We’re all humans and we’re all trying to do our best at whatever we do and giving people negative energy and making comments like that doesn’t help anyone.”

Despite a whirlwind few days, Yengi’s resilience has not waivered and when asked whether he would do the celebration again given the fallout of the weekend’s events, he didn’t blink an eye, and so he shouldn’t.

“Nah, no matter what anybody says to me I’m gonna be me and show my character so everything that’s happened, it’s not gonna stop me from doing it in the future.”

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