Ajax Amsterdam and Cameroon goalkeeper has been an outstanding example for black goalkeepers in football, and he continued with his rich vein of form against Lille at the Stade Piere-Mauroy, in the North of France on Wednesday.
Onana in an interview with Oma Akatugba of Omasport at the backstage of their UCL encounter spoke about racism, black African goalkeepers and keeping yet another clean sheet.
On keeping a ‘zero’ as Onana descrived it as, he said; ”It feels good to achieve something good. It’s not easy to keep a clean sheet but we defended well and are proud of the way we played, and I’m so happy,”
We talked about his exploits being a good projection for African black goalkeepers and he said ”it’s not easy for black African goalkeepers.
”It’s not always easy for us to have a good image for black African goalkeepers. We are the same, there’s no difference between black and white for me.
”I just try to do my best, like my black brother there. Sometimes we make mistakes, sometimes, we keep a clean sheet like today.
”When you are from Africa, and you’re black, it’s not easy.”
About being an inspiring presence for African goalkeepers, Onana, a product of the Samuel Etoo Foundation in Cameroon said;
”Yes, I’m an inspiration for black goalkeepers in the world. Sometimes I’ll do my best and make mistakes but today, I’m happy for the win and the game. Let’s see what happens on Sunday.”
The interview covered racism in football and how he deals with it as a professional.
”Racism affects football a lot. For me, it doesn’t affect me because it’s something that’s not going to stop. Before I was born, they’ve been talking about it.
”The most important thing is not to go out at this stage but for me, if I have to go out of the stadium, I’ll go out every two weeks because every away game, I hear something.
”It’s what they want, let them talk, nothing is going to happen, I’m black and I’m proud of it.”
The entire Eredivisie and Eerste Divisie showed solidarity behind Excelsior’s Ahmad Mendes Moreira after he was racially abused in an Eredivisie match against Den Bosch. The first minute of matches across the two top divisions of Dutch football was abandoned to show a united cause against racism.
Thrilled by the rare gesture, Onana said; ”The unity we showed over the weekend by not kicking the ball for a minute will help a lot in the fight against racism. I’m happy for what we did, but we have to be strong because it won’t stop.
”Football is simple for me. Let’s enjoy it because it’s short and everyone won’t play it. You don’t know what will happen next.”