On the surface, Chelsea’s Champions League win over Rennes a few weeks ago was another of those disposable, checkbox exercises that ignited all stages of the competition. Chelsea, a huge favorite – a team with high financial firepower, a deep squad and great ambition – reached for a win.
Beyond the score, it seemed hard to remember. And yet that game, like the return match in France on Tuesday, was a rarity not only in the Champions League, but in elite European football as a whole.
Surprisingly, there could be only two games in the Champions League this season in which both teams played a black goalkeeper: Edward Mandy, the 28-year-old acquired by Chelsea in September, and his Place at Alfred Gomis Range.
Some games are level playing fields that are self-contained. Black quarterbacks were once rare in the NFL because black entrances were to tennis championships and golf courses. Soccer, like many other sports, still struggles for black representation in leadership roles: there are some black managers, and even fewer black officials.
And, of course, there is a lot of old evidence that in Europe, if not in the United States or Africa – there is a deep-rooted suspicion of black goalkeepers who, for lack of analysis, have the opportunity. Lack of anger is allowed. And lack of trust.
Index Onana, the Ajax goalkeeper, is the story of a time when an Italian club told him that his fans would not accept the move to sign a black goalkeeper. Another is about a former Premier League manager who was introduced with two possible new recruits, then dismissed outright who was not white. He said he did not need to be seen playing.
For most of his career in England, former goalkeeper Shaka Hislop was aware of the sudden interruption that had cast a shadow over him, and he still remembers the moments when it was voiced. Like the day he and his companions were waiting at the airport in New York, Trinidad and Tobago, and an immigration official – who had no idea who he was – explained to him at length, Why Black Players Don’t Make Good Goalkeepers
How deeply rooted the problem is, however, is illustrated by the statistics. Of Europe’s top five leagues, France’s 20-team League 1 – where nine black goalkeepers have played in the past, and eight have already had time to play this year – is pretty much an outsider. Others are more concise.
Before last week’s international break, 77 goalkeepers appeared for at least a minute across the Bundesliga, Serie A and La Liga. None of them were black. Last year, performances by black goalkeepers were rare: only two of the 92 goals scored in Italy and Spain, and only two of the 36 goals played in Germany.
The figures in England are almost as staggering. Only three black players have scored in a Premier League match this year: Fulham’s Alphonse Arola, Brighton’s Robert Sachez and Chelsea’s Mandy. Five other Premier League squads are currently registered, including United States international Jack Stephen at Manchester City, but not yet playing in the league.
The difference between the poultry amount and the number of black goalkeepers Black outfield players The aristocratic leagues all over Europe are such that it is difficult to write it down or to misrepresent it as a small picture. Black goalkeepers have long been under-represented in European football. African people are even more unusual.
Every year, for example, the traditional powerhouses of West Africa have dozens of players on rosters in Europe’s major leagues. But Nigeria’s first-choice goalkeepers, Ivory Coast and Ghana all still play in Africa. And although no African country has produced as good a goalkeeper as Cameron, who once sent Jack Songo and Thomas Encono to play in Spain and sent Joseph-Antoine Bell to France for a long career, Current No. 1. Goalkeeper, Fabrice Ondoa, has not yet left Belgium’s top division for a European marquee league.
Onoa’s cousin – and national teammate – Onana, at least, plays in the Champions League for Ajax. But with only two Senegalese, two goalkeepers – Mandy and Gomes – playing in the world’s biggest club competition, it is safe to say that two goalkeepers compete at the highest levels of professional football.
Mandy doesn’t fully understand why this could happen. Perhaps, he said in his introduction as a Chelsea player, it had something to do with the mis-defined “profile” of the players that the coaches wanted. Others have different and deeply rooted interpretations.
Everton and former United goalkeeper Tim Howard said: “There was a stigma attached to the idea of a black quarterback in the NFL. “It simply came to our notice then.
Howard sees this in the absence of black goalkeepers. Football has long considered itself a virtue – at least on the field – that has gone beyond the old, harmful reins. Dig a little deeper though, and they have a detrimental effect. There are still black players Less likely to play in central or attacking midfield, For example, and are more likely to be praised by commentators for physical qualities such as speed and power, such as “wisdom” and “leadership.” And rarely, it seems, are they given the chance to play in goals at the elite European level.
Mandy admits that it helps her break the barrier. All he can do, he said, is “show I can really perform at this level, and maybe change people’s minds on these things.” For those who have experienced the same prejudices, however, who have spent their careers hoping to become agents of change, this is part of the problem.
Hislop, now a commentator for ESPN, emphasizes the case of Jordan Pickford, the current first-choice goalkeeper for both Everton and England national teams. Over the past few years, Pickford has come under scrutiny for both understanding technical flaws in his game and his tendency to rash. “Everyone makes headlines at once,” Hislop said.
Hislop said the difference is that whenever Puckford makes a mistake, “no one uses his performance to declare that white players don’t make good goalkeepers,” Hislop said. If Pickford goes wrong, there’s only one reputation he can afford.
Black goalkeepers, Hislop argues, are not given the same rights. He felt throughout his career, as if every individual mistake was used as proof that all “black goalkeepers make mistakes.” And it didn’t just apply to him: he believed that when David James, a goalkeeper for Liverpool, Manchester City and England, made mistakes, those mistakes were kept as evidence of support for the hurdle.
He sees similarities to black representation in other areas of the game. Hislop quoted Les Ferdinand, director of football at Queen’s Park Rangers, as currently in England’s second tier championship. As soon as he was hired, Hislop said, Ferdinand knew there was more to his performance than just his reputation.
“If 80 per cent of white male directors in football in the league have sudden failures, it will not stop anyone from appointing the next white man,” Hislop said. “Les had to be great at giving shots to other black players.”
This goal applies to goalkeepers, in Hislop’s eyes, and creates a self-contained circle. Carlos Cameni, a former Cameroon international international who has spent much of his career at Espanyol, Spain, said he was convinced that the lack of black goalkeepers was “not a form of racism.”
If a goalkeeper is good enough, Camney said, a major European club will sign him, and he uses that as proof of Mendy’s arrival at Chelsea. For Kameni, the problem is simple. “There aren’t many black goalkeepers who are good enough,” he said in a series of WhatsApp messages.
Those two things, however, are not connected. “The problem is not only that coaches are less likely to give aspiring black goalkeepers a chance to showcase their talent, but also that players have very few role models that prove they can succeed,” Hislop said. Are. “There is no precedent for following them,” he said.
He is, at least, optimistic. He sees a fleet of black goalkeepers in the United States, a country and a football culture sinking where Howard, Bill Hamid, Sean Johnson and now Stephen have struck impressively, and where Philadelphia’s Andre Blake – a Jamaican international Is – was just named. Major League Soccer Goalkeeper of the Year.
More appropriately, Hislop cited Brazil as evidence that barriers could disappear. For a long time – and despite strong evidence to the contrary – it has been widely believed that Brazil did not produce high-quality goalkeepers.
“Everyone in Trinidad and Tobago considers themselves a fan of Brazil,” said Hislop. “And he always said that Brazil did not make a goalkeeper. But now you have Alison and Anderson, two of the best in the world. No one will ever say that again. ”
Prejudice, sudden or not, can be exposed. Unique cycles can be stopped in their tracks, or vice versa. Mandy, Gomis, Onana and others can help with the process. It’s a shame they have to do that.