Racist abuse is more common than the world might want it to be, and among the most affected sports is football.
Rangers midfielder Glen Kamara faced an ugly racism incident in the Europa League last season thanks to Slavia Prague’s Ondrej Kundela. After his and teammate Kemar Roofe’s reaction post the game, the two got a 3 and 4 game ban respectively.
Ahead of their clash against another Czech side, Sparta Prague, there might be concerns about whether Kamara will be in the right frame of mind to remain composed, especially since their opponents’ fans recently racially abused Monaco’s Aurelien Tchouameni.
But the absence of adult fans could be a source of relief as only 10000 children are allowed in the stadium for Thursday’s game.
But the Rangers’ coach, Steven Gerrard, is the least concerned as he is certain his players will heed the words he spoke. “I have spoken to the majority of my players about the game. Glen and Kemar…are in a good place, “he assured.
The former Liverpool and England midfielder-captain will be looking to guide his side to victory after a first-round defeat against Lyon.
Rangers have not only the confidence to face any opponent after winning the Scottish League Cup for the first time in ten years but also the desire to excel in an international competition.
“We aren’t focused on who will or won’t be in the stadium,” Rangers, midfielder Joe Aribio revealed. If all doesn’t go as planned, though, a draw is the worst they want to settle for. “It’s important we take something because if not, the group becomes complicated,” said the English coach.
But, racist chants or not, Gerrard’s side, which went undefeated on the road in the competition last season, must bring their A-game if they want to defeat Sparta, who haven’t lost to a Scottish side for almost thirty years.