Zimbabwe: When Amini Came Face-to-Face With Racism

30 September 2020

Sports Reporter

IT has taken him five years to find the courage to finally tell his story, but for Qadr Amin, the nightmare hasn't been washed away by the passage of time.

The Zimbabwe international footballer says he was subjected to racism in his failed bid to join Iran top-flight side, Rahian Kermanshah, in 2015.

He was set to become the first Zimbabwean to play in the Iran top-tier league.

Amini had spent only six months into his two-year contract with Dynamos when the opportunity to join Rahian Kermanshah came along.

Not only was the deal frustrated by a change of agents, but Amini claims he also came face-to-face with racism.

"The adventure laid bare some inexplicable perceptions that some people have about black people," he told The Herald.

"The team (Rahian), which I was supposed to sign for, is located in the Iranian capital, Tehran and, the side where the team is based, there were some people who appeared surprised to see a black man in their area.

"I was staying at a place which was adjacent to some sports complex, which I suppose is open to everyone for physical training.

"When I was not training with the team, I would go to that complex to train on my own, but I was surprised when I was called by a group of people one day as I was taking a jog.

"They told me to stop using the facility. The reason I was given was that they had not seen a black person at that facility and I was supposed to stop.

"They asked me where I had come from and I told them, but they said no, you can't train here, and I was led out of the venue."

Amini, who returned from a lengthy injury spell in July last year and helped Rodwell Dhlakama's Ngezi Platinum Stars side finish fourth in the domestic Premiership, said not everyone was hostile.

Some Good Samaritans, he claimed, came to his defence.

"While I was being pushed out, someone followed me to where I was and started talking to me," he said.

"After some time, that's when he approached his colleagues and implored them to stop what they were doing.

"That's how everyone there started coming closer to me.

"Others began to touch my skin, and the more they did that, the more they appeared to start accepting me.

"In the end, I would even run with them. That guy then became my friend for those three weeks that I stayed there and he is still my friend.

"Most of their shops open in the evening because the place is very hot, so I could go out but the people there looked surprised seeing me."

Amini, who had no problems communicating with the Iranians given he speaks fluent Arabic from his Islamic background, suffered in vain as the deal with the club failed to materialise. While he was slowly cementing his place at Dynamos, he was a disgruntled man as media reports back then revealed he had not been paid his signing-on fees.

But, the parties finally found common ground and DeMbare cleared all the dues they owed the player.

"I was actually cleared to go there by my then club, Dynamos, and the deal looked very secure," he said.

"I just had to take my medicals and sign the contract.

"But, then, when I was about to go for medicals ahead of putting pen to paper, the agents changed and, somehow, the ones who were now handling the issue demanded some top-up money.

"The club rejected and that's how the deal fell through.

"I had to return home but that was long after the mid-season window had closed in the local league and my 2015 was wasted just like that."

Amini joined How Mine and then FC Platinum before he signed for Ngezi Platinum Stars two years ago.

He was part of coach Zdravko Logarusic's CHAN-bound squad before the tournament, scheduled to run between April 4-25 in Cameroon, was called off due to Covid-19 threats.

The 30-year-old is training at home in preparation for the season.

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