Sibongiseni Gumbi
Football Writer
2 minute read
13 May 2021
11:02 am

OPINION: If no Luc Eymael, then no Stuart Baxter, right Safa?

Sibongiseni Gumbi

Baxter has this week been reported to be in negotiations with Kaizer Chiefs over a possible return to Naturena.

Stuart Baxter is set to replace Gavin Hunt at Kaizer Chiefs, according to insiders. (Gavin Barker/BackpagePix)

Yes, the two issues are different. But being racist and being misogynistic is almost the same.

Before I lose you, let me be clear. I am talking about Luc Eymael who was ‘banned’ from ever working in the country after his alleged racist utterings while he was at Young Africans SC in Tanzania.

Eymael called the East African club’s fans monkeys and dogs who know nothing about football but shout and bark the loudest. That was clearly insensitive of him, and he was correctly called out for being racist and fired.

Chippa United recently tried twice to bring him into the country but failed because they faced strong resistance and were even threatened, wrongly so it must be said, with violence. Some of Chippa’s financial backers also threatened to pull out should the club be associated with a racist. All understandable and supported.

Therefore, we cannot now turn a blind eye and not protest when another club is reported to be negotiating with Stuart Baxter who was fired for misogynistic comments in India. At his last job at Odisha FC, Baxter was fired after he said his players need to be “raped” in front of everyone for referees to give fouls for them.

We are a country with a problem when it comes to gender-related crimes. We read in the news every day how women and the LGBTQI+ are harassed, violated, assaulted, raped, and killed every day, and we don’t need people who take such issues as a joke.

Using that issue as an anecdote to fight your small sporting battles is insensitive and stupid. Coaches of Baxter’s stature hold so much respect with our football followers and if he makes light of such serious issues, it will filter down to the supporters and all the hard work being done to deal with the issue will be undone just like that.

Baxter has this week been reported to be in negotiations with Kaizer Chiefs over a possible return to Naturena. I hope it is just what it is – rumour.

For a respectable brand like Chiefs, having associated with such a character before should be shameful enough. Having a second take would be ludicrous. And knowing how brand-conscious Amakhosi are, I believe they will do the right thing.