Nosa Igiebor has expressed shock and sadness concerning the level of racism in Spanish football and says it would “be a dream come true” to be at the Brazil 2014 Fifa World Cup with Nigeria.
The Super Eagles midfielder decided to hit back at his La Liga team Real Betis’ fans by making an offensive two middle finger gesture, after claiming he was targeted by racists as he warmed up during a match against cross-town rivals Sevilla.
“Why should they be calling me negro, black monkey and sorts,” Nosa told BBC World Football’s Ashley Schammer in an interview.
“When I came here (Spain) was when I know there’s racism in football, I never knew it before.
“We experience these things and at that point in time you can’t control yourself.”
Nosa, 23, made the gesture after coming in as a second-half substitute to score the equaliser as Betis fought back from 3-1 down to level 3-all against Sevilla at the Estadio Benito Villamarin in April.
He however feels sorry for the gesture, which he says was born out of “frustration” but urges the football federation to act fast and eradicate the menace.
“I went there (on the sideline) with three other white guys and we were warming up.
“At that point in time we were down 3-1 and we kept warming up. And there was these two guys over there and they started shouting: ‘Nosa! Black monkey, Negro’ those kind of words. They started screaming at me and I was wondering what have I done? I’ve not even entered the field. What have I done?
“You start to think because you are black,” Nosa added. “Why are they not telling these three guys the same things they are telling me? And I felt really bad.
“And when I scored that goal, I ran to that same spot where those two guys were standing and I saw them there and I did what I did.
“I did it out of annoyance and bitterness and anger in me. I thought of it later after and I shouldn’t have, but I did it at that point in time cos I was frustrated.
“I did what I did, but I’m sorry for it. That’s just it.
“And for me, I think Fifa or anybody should do something about it cos we are all human beings.”
Your colour doesn’t really matter. We are all human beings. Let’s just play this football and let’s just enjoy it. Let’s have fun… Real Betis playmaker Nosa Igiebor on Racism.
Igiebor underwent surgery in November, after he was forced to pull out of the World Cup playoff return-leg against Ethiopia in Calabar due to a groin injury.
Despite not being included in coach Stephen Keshi’s 23-man squad for the March 5 warm-up against Mexico, the midfielder says he already has Brazil on his mind and will be looking to improve on his match fitness ahead of the football showpiece.
Nosa said: “Everyday I sit in the house I start to think ‘How is it going to be in Brazil? What is the team (going to look like)? For me I’ve never being in the World Cup before.
“A young guy like me playing in the World Cup; first, I think it’ll be a dream come true. It will be a dream come true seeing myself play in the World Cup. Cos this great players did even play in the world Cup and today they are dreaming of it.”