South African star Lebogang Phiri has reacted to the alleged racist abuse that was hurled at him following his Brondby side’s loss to Panathinaikos.
Playing in the Europa League last Thursday, Phiri was targeted by Panathinaikos’ Swedish striker Marcus Berg, who reportedly called him a ‘monkey’ as the teams made their way off through the tunnel.
Though Berg has denied the claim, Phiri has launched an official complaint against the Swede to Uefa, where he wil be backed up by a teammate who overheard the incident.
The Brondy star has admitted he was shocked and disappointed by the encounter.
‘Regardless of where a person comes from or what you look like, it is unacceptable as a human being to be compared to an animal,’ Phiri told Ekstra Bladet.
‘In the situation that arose, he [Berg] was not professional enough to handle it. But I don’t care if he was frustrated or disappointed, no man deserves to be compared to an animal.’
The midfielder has criticised Berg’s attitude and his refusal to take responsibility for the incident.
‘It’s his word against mine, and in the end he himself knows the truth. He did not deny it to one of my teammates after it had happened in the players’ tunnel.
‘It’s obvious that this is how he thinks about me, so my question is, what he thinks about his own teammates who have the same skin colour as me?’
Berg netted twice as Panathinaikos took a 3-0 lead in the sides’ playoff tie. The return leg is set to take place in Denmark on Thursday.
The match will be played at the Brondby Stadium.
Kick-off is at 19:00.