Thursday, April 14

Slovenian coach banned for calling Nigerian ‘black idiot’

Slovenian coach banned for calling Nigerian ‘black idiot’

Marko Nikolac

Marko Nikolac, coach of Slovenia’s league leaders Olimpija, has been handed a seven-game ban for calling Blessing Eleke, a Nigerian player in the club, a “black idiot”.

Nikolic was caught on camera saying “look at that idiot” while Eleke was celebrating an equaliser in the game against rival Zavrc.

The coach felt Eleke spent too long celebrating the goal – Eleke’s first home goal for Olimpija following his January move from Gorica.

The club initially refused to suspend the Serb, but the Slovenian FA intervened, citing “clear racism” as its reason for acting.

Olimpija president Milan Mandaric, the former Leicester and Portsmouth owner, had defended Nikolic, saying: “We have come to the conclusion that the coach did not target the player’s race.”

Apologising  for the comment, Nikolac said his remarks about Eleke were not racist as he only wanted his team to try and score a winning goal to reach the championship playoffs on their way to clinching the league title.

He said he has had a long talk with the 20-year-old Nigeria striker, who he respects a lot and has tried to improve as a player.

“I wish to apologise to the to everyone – the President, the Sports Director, Blessing Eleke and finally all fans of Olimpija for an inadvertent remark, which when heard again on television later sounded very distasteful and worthy of condemnation,” said the young coach.

“My only wish was that after the equaliser on 92 minutes, we should try to get the winning goal.

“My target is to reach the national championship playoffs and go on to win the championship.

“I would like to thank all the team for understanding that my remarks were not meant to be racist.”

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