After the custodian received racist abuse on the internet, Zion Suzuki has “the full support” of the Japanese team at the Asian Cup, according to their coach on Tuesday.
The 21-year-old Suzuki, whose mother is Japanese and his father is Ghanaian-American, claimed he had experienced racist taunts on social media in the wake of Japan’s shocking 2-1 loss to Iraq in Doha.
It follows two incidents of racist taunts during games in Italy and England directed at players.
Prior to Japan’s Wednesday matchup with Indonesia, head coach Hajime Moriyasu stated that racism was “something that just cannot happen.”
“Zion is an important player for Japan and I strongly object to the people who violated his human rights and racially abused him,” he stated.
“The entire team is behind Zion in case it has caused him stress or injury.
“I want him to feel comfortable and to be able to fully concentrate on his football.”
Following the incidents in Italy and England over the weekend, FIFA President Gianni Infantino called for global stadium bans for fans and “automatic forfeits” for teams whose supporters hurl racist abuse.
During AC Milan’s thrilling 3-2 victory over Udinese, supporters hurled monkey chants at France goalie Mike Maignan, causing the game to be temporarily stopped.
Midfielder Kasey Palmer of Coventry, whose club won 2-1 on Saturday, accused Sheffield Wednesday supporters of treating him similarly during their Championship match.
“Football is a sport that can connect countries and people,” Moriyasu stated.
“It has a shared language that can bring people with different values together.”
On Tuesday, it still looked like Suzuki’s Instagram account was closed to comments.
The goalie acknowledged criticism of his work on Monday, but he stated that he “would like people to stop making racist comments.”
“I’m not about to let it beat me,” said the man.