Ghanaian international footballer Godfred Adofo – now playing for Italy lower tier side GS Felino – has been speaking exclusively to SPORTSworldGhana.com from his Italian base in a wide-ranging interview and believes younger Italians are not racist compared to their grandparents and older people from the European country.
Italy – most definitely – is one of the biggest football centers in the world with historically great soccer clubs like AC Milan, Inter Milan and Juventus and the Serie A ranks among the best 5 soccer leagues in Europe.
However when it comes to the negative acts of racism in football the country of Gianluigi Buffon and Paolo Maldini is seen as one of the worst but the former Bechem United versatile midfielder says people should stop the generalization.
Italian striker of Ghanaian descent Mario Balotelli told Quelli Che Il Calcio last year : “Juve-Inter, when I was younger, was a catastrophe—emotionally, it was a disaster. They were making these chants. There was no motive as I hadn’t done anything at all. Not to the players or to the fans. When I got home, I asked my mother: ‘Why? Why were they doing that. But there was no explanation. I was a kid, I don’t think they understood how much this really hurt me. Luckily, I have a strong character, but you can really destroy a person. In England, on a football level, I never saw anything like this. In France, I’ve not seen much—but no one is like Italy. In Italy, it is really extreme.”
Another Ghanaian international Kevin-Prince Boateng recently said ” This (racism against Blacks) is not new. Let’s not pretend to be shocked now. Seven years ago, I was playing for Milan in a friendly game when a group of fans made monkey noises every time one of our black players touched the ball. After 26 minutes I told the referee, “If they do that again, I’m gonna stop playing.” Boateng recounted how he eventually left the pitch due to racist chants during a friendly game between his club AC Milan and a lower tier side.
But former Ghana U20 international Adofo has a different perspective and experience to this canker that has bedeviled the beautiful game of football. Adofo has an eight-year experience of life in Italy after he was transferred from Bechem United to Serie A side Parma back in 2012 and SportsWorldGhana.com got closer to him.
“For me I can talk about racism in Italy in two folds. The first one is that the young Italian generation which are our co-equal are not racist. They understand things better and we thank God for that as I always move on well with them. It is the older Italians , I mean the older people who are racists or who demonstrate they have the tendency to be racist.” Godfred Adofo told SPORTSworldGhana.com in an exclusive interview.
“And secondly on a personal level I have not experienced racism that much since I moved my football here. In the first years of my stay in this country it was a bit difficult but as time past by , I became used to it. Look even sometimes my white teammates refer to me as a “White man” due to my behavior and how I conduct myself in the team. So to be honest with you I’ve not seen any serious acts of racism against me personally.” Adofo explained to SportsWorldGhana.com from his base in Italy.
“As I said my experince have also shown how you conduct yourself around these white guys could also impact their thinking or opinion about you” the defensive midfielder added.
Adofo recently signed a new deal with his current club thanks to his performance over the last three years but the start date for next season of the fourth-division in which his club plays is yet to be announced after the current season was cancelled following the impact of the Covid-19.