A Spanish football team made up of migrants from 12 different nationalities printed racist slurs on the back of their shirts to fight against discrimination and prejudice.
The team, named Alma de Africa, meaning Soul of Africa, play in the Tercera Andaluza regional division. The club is based in Jerez, southern Spain, about an hour’s drive from Seville, and was formed five years ago.
There are five Spaniards in the squad, who are known as 'the foreigners' by their teammates.
Racist slurs replaced the names of the players for the last game of the season. The insults, visible on the team’s shirts, included words such as 'Monkey', 'Gorilla', 'Immigrant', 'Illegal' and 'Slave'.
“We did it to tell everyone that we are not criminals. We are people and we are not bothering anybody,” Eric Josue Amang, 27, a midfielder who plays for Alma de Africa, told El Pais newspaper.
“We want to be respected. We are in the 21st century and I don’t understand how they can still say these insults. We are fed up with being disrespected.”
Eric migrated to Spain from Cameroon through Morocco. Many of his friends died during the journey. His love for football helped him integrate and build a new home in Spain.
Alma de Africa is run and managed by Alejandro Benitez, an real estate agent who works with the club out of solidarity with the team.
“We have tried to start awareness campaign because all our players still receive racist insults. There are rude people who go after our players,” Benitez said.
“It’s madness. We also want to show that our players are so above these insults that we have put them on the back [of the jerseys] so that everyone can see them.
“It’s a stupid form of roguishness. Let’s see if together we can end this problem. It’s true that the trend is going down, but it keeps happening and we wanted to draw people’s attention to it."
Alma de Africa lost their final game of the season to the leader of the Tercera Andaluza regional division, Algaida, and finished last in the division. The players gave away their shirts to the rivals.