Simon Zebo calls for life ban after Cameroon star called 'banana eater' in French second division match
"I will burn you, banana eater."
A Cameroonian rugby player has said he was racially abused by an opponent during his side's opening match of the season. Simon Zebo and Nemani Nadolo have both condemned the abuse suffered by the winger.
On Friday evening, Christian Ambadiang was playing for Nevers in their match against Provence Rugby in the Pro D2, the second division of French rugby.
In an Instagram post after the game, Ambadiang claimed that he had been the victim of disgusting abuse from an opposition player.
Ambadiang says that a Provence player said to him "Je vais te brûler, mangeur de bananes" - which translates as "I will burn you banana eater."
He adds that the player later said he made the insult in the "heat of the moment" and that referees "tend to turn a blind eye" to racist abuse on the pitch.
The player who made the comment to Ambadiang has not been named, but his club have released a statement condemning the abuse and apologising to the Nevers player. It reads:
"Provence Rugby learned yesterday that Christian Ambadiang, player from Nevers, was the victim of racist insults by one of our players.
"Despite the latter's apologies, and his faultless behaviour since his arrival at the club, this is unacceptable. This indeed the club's project, which has made tackling societal issues one of its reasons for existing.
"Provence Rugby would like to apologise to Christian Ambadiang and, more generally, to all those who may be shocked by the situation. We are too."
The statement adds that the club are speaking to the player in question and will be punishing him accordingly.
📄 Communiqué du clubhttps://t.co/ZOkHBxeMEE
— Provence Rugby ⚫️🏉 (@ProvenceRugby) September 4, 2021
Stars of the sport have also condemned the abuse.
Munster and Ireland star Simon Zebo called for a life ban for the player, while Leicester Tigers and Fiji winger Nemani Nadolo simply tweeted #SayNoToRacism.
— Simon Zebo (@SimonZebo) September 5, 2021
— nemzy (@nemani_nadolo) September 5, 2021
According to Le Journal du Centre, Nevers have submitted a report to the National Rugby League, the governing body for professional rugby in France.