Keepers take stand against racism in Mexico22 July 2007

In April Mexican side CF Pachuca won a penalty shootout to lift the CONCACAF Champions Cup and qualify for the 2007 FIFA Club World Championship, which will take place in Japan in December. Goalkeeper and club captain Miguel Calero was a key factor in this success. The Columbia shot-stopper joined Pachuca in 2000 and has been the backbone of the team ever since. Pachuca also won the Mexican league title at the end of May.

Calero has now joined fellow goalkeepers Oscar 'Conejo' Perez, the former Mexico number one, and Emmanuel Gonzalez of Tigues Mexico in taking a stand against racism in Mexican football. The campaign “We have to stop racism just like we stop shots” is supported by RINAT, Mexico's only brand of goalkeeper gloves, and intends to get involved in FARE in the future.

On behalf of FARE Oscar Sanchez of Vienna asked the three keepers why they had decided to get involved.

Miguel Calero (Pachuca and Columbia)

Is there racism in Mexican football? Have you experienced racism during your career?
Well, only to the extent that people sometimes call me “cocalero”, or drug dealer, at games in South America; that's all I've experienced so far.

Where did you start your professional career?
At Deportivo Cali as a 16-year-old.

Which goal do you remember the most?
One by a Juventus striker whose name slips my mind for the time being, but it still hurts to think about it even now.

What are your hopes for the future?
I want to become a goalkeeper coach and design a collection of goalkeeping gloves for Rinat de Mexico.

What do your gloves mean to you?
They're like my right hand, I feel like a fish in water when I wear them.

What can players do against racism?
As footballers we have to be pioneers and stamp out racism not only within the game but also in every aspect of society. We have to stop racism just like we stop shots.

Oscar 'Conejo' Perez (former Mexico keeper)

What should football do about racism?
Racism shouldn't be given a platform; racist chanting should be banned. There's no room for racism in football. It's very interesting to hear that European organisations such as the VIDC are supporting events against racism. We Mexicans can learn a lot from that.

Emmanuel Gonzalez (Tigues Mexico goalkeeper)

When did your professional career begin?
On 11 January 1997 at Atletico Celaya.

Have you ever been confronted with racism?
Not in football, thankfully, though I'm sure there's a form of socio-economic racism in Mexico that manifests itself in sport, so it's important to take a stand against all forms of racism.

What do your gloves mean to you?
They're a kind of tool, a tool against goals.