What Italy Manager Roberto Mancini Had To Say About Children Painting Their Faces Black To Look Like Victor Osimhen

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During a carnival week in Naples, Italy, manager Roberto Mancini defended some children accused of racism after they painted their faces black to seem like Serie A leading scorer Victor Osimhen.


Adults and children alike typically dress up as their heroes for the carnival, and this year several children chose to represent Osimhen, who has scored 20 goals in 24 games for Napoli this season.


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Sabrina Efionayi, a Napolian writer of Nigerian heritage like Osimhen, took to social media to scold parents for allowing their children to wear blackface at the carnival.


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Despite understanding why the young fans wanted to dress up in such a way, Efionayi felt it was alarming that Italians do not understand why ‘blacking up’ is offensive.

She said on Facebook: ‘Every time a player with black skin excels in a team (in this case, Napoli), I always feel this tremendous angst over how people think he should be celebrated.

‘From the solidarity of Sorbillo to Koulibaly who painted his face black, to the children you painted brown in ‘honour’ of Osimhen for Carnival.

‘Trust me, it is not celebrating him at all. It gives me goosebumps if you think it is showing solidarity, being amusing or supportive of the Nigerian player.’


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The remark, however, was rejected by Roberto Mancini, the former Manchester City manager who is currently in charge of Italy’s national team.


Mancini stood up for the parents and children, saying, “Where others see racism, I see wonder.”


On Instagram, Mancini responded to Efionayi’s criticism by sharing a photo of young fans costumed as Osimhen.


‘Where some see racism, I see only wonder,’ the Euro 2020 winner urged. ‘Sport is inclusion and you kids are giants!’


In recent years, Italy’s approach to racial sensitivity has been heavily criticized, particularly in relation to the popular television show ‘Tale e Quale Show,’ in which white celebrities wore blackface to impersonate iconic musicians and perform as them.

Similarly, the Italian league Serie A was widely rebuked in 2019 after artwork for an anti-racism campaign included three depictions of monkeys.



Written by How Africa News

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