Peltier racially abused in Slovakia.
By Stephon Nicholas (Newsday).
“We don’t need your kind here so go back before we do something to you.” That has been some of the racial abuse suffered by national footballer Lester Peltier since moving to Slovakia to play for AS Trencin 19 months ago to pursue his career.
Speaking to Newsday via the telephone yesterday, Peltier painted a gloomy picture of the life of a black professional footballer in Slovakia.
On Tuesday, the 23-year-old expressed his frustration via the social networking site Twitter stating “I can’t take the racist abuse”.
When contacted, Peltier described some of the taunts he has had to endure.
“It doesn’t have much black people here. Even though I’m doing good with the football team, there are one or two problems with people who are not accustomed seeing black people here. It had one incident where I went out with a colleague of mine from Senegal and people were saying ‘go back to Africa’. They don’t care (about us), they just say what’s on their mind,” he said.
Peltier revealed that he was even threatened by a man once and pointed out that life outside of football is a mental challenge.
He noted that racism does not rear its ugly head in the city or at stadiums and revealed his teammates also expressed outrage about the he has been treated.
“In the city it’s no problem and it’s not in the stadiums because I get a lot of respect from fans. When I’m substituted I get a standing ovation,” he explained. With high profile incidents of racism in the past and even currently involving players such as Eto’o, Luis Suarez, Patrice Evra and England captain John Terry, Peltier never believed it could happen to him. “I know the history of these places but I never had a racial comment directed at me before. So to hear someone call me the ‘N’ word was different. You just have to smile and know what you are about,” he explained.
Commenting on life on the field-of-play, Peltier expressed delight with what he has been able to achieve so far.
“I’m one of the top players in the league. So far it’s good . I’m happy with the club and I’ve never had any complaint football-wise,” he pointed out. Although noting that it was difficult to acclimatise at first, Peltier is overjoyed he is fulfilling his dream and is even enjoying the frigid weather conditions.
“This is my first winter and oh my God it is so cold. We don’t train on certain days because Slovakia is colder than England and Belgium. It’s good training the snow, though, it’s fun,” he declared.
Meanwhile, the former Jabloteh player, expressed disappointment in the “Soca Warriors” failed campaign for the 2014 World Cup. Peltier provided a glimmer of hope for the future, however, bagging four goals including a hat-trick against Barbados. “I was really happy finishing with the most goals but disappointed that it didn’t really count for anything,” he said.
Asked what TT need to do to rebuild and regain their place as one of the top football countries in CONCACAF, the AS Trencin forward was adamant that investing in the youths is the key.
“TT need to invest in young players and the Pro League to get more opportunities to go outside. Even the Under-23s are doing good. We have to focus on our future,” he concluded.