The Japanese national football team captain, Maya Yoshida, was insulted by some Saudi fans after his team’s match against the Saudi national team, sparking a wave of anger and condemnation on social media in Saudi Arabia.
Video footage showed Yoshida, who was angry, while exchanging words with fans of the Saudi national team, who appeared to mock him during a television interview after the match.
The captain of the Japanese national football team said that the Saudi fans made “racist gestures” in a match held on Thursday, which saw Saudi Arabia defeat its guest Japan 1-0 in the World Cup qualifiers.
The player was quoted by the Japanese press as saying: “There were racist gestures (without specifying them) that’s hard to accept. It happened in the last qualifiers as well. It’s disappointing.”
After the video clip of the incident spread, tweeters launched a campaign on Twitter under the hashtag: #Saudi_Audience_Apologizes_Japan, to apologize to the national team and the Japanese people for the abuse suffered by the player.
In parallel with the Arab hashtag, activists launched a similar hashtag in Japanese with tweets directed at the player and the Japanese public.
Some of the tweeters apologized to the Japanese ambassador in Saudi Arabia, who in turn did not comment on the issue, only congratulating the Saudi team on the victory.
The media, Turki Al-Ajma, said on the “Kora” program that “the audience today was great, but we must cooperate in educating a small group so that it does not affect the general appearance, and what happened with the Japanese player at the time of the television meeting was defective.”
The Japanese expressed their anger and sadness at what happened with the captain of their country, and some of them called on FIFA to take punitive measures so that this does not happen again.
On the other hand, others refused to bear full responsibility for offending the public.
Ibrahim Al-Munif believed that “placing the television platform in front of the audience was a mistake,” and added: “The meeting is supposed to be towards the stadium, not the audience, in order to avoid any problems.”
Abdul Rahman Al-Khalidi said that “what happened is an individual act and does not represent the Saudi public,” considering that “teasing” the opponent is a football habit as long as the player’s person is not insulted or insulted.
Some demanded the player to apologize for attacking the audience, describing their behavior as “very normal”.
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