MacBeth Sibaya downplays racism fears ahead of the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia this month
Posted: 8 June 2018 Time: 15:30
Former Bafana Bafana midfielder MacBeth Sibaya says racism in South Africa exceeds anything he was exposed to during his seven years in Russia.
Sibaya who was part of the South Africa national team squad that hosted the 2010 edition spent seven seasons in Russia plying his trade for Rubin Kazan.
And with the recent concerns over racism in the Eastern European country, Sibaya has made a sensational claim but stopped short of stating it doesn't exist.
"They are very curious I wouldn't say it's racism because I live here in South Africa so I know what racism is," he told BBC Sport. "Racism is a system and I didn't see a system directed at hating blacks.
"I'm not denying that it [racism] happens but I am saying I live in South Africa I know racism it's not like that in Russia.
The current Multichoice Diski coach of SuperSport United further stated that upon his arrival at Kazan, he was welcomed and everyone he encountered took a real interest in his cultural diversity.
"The welcome I got in Russia was quite good and strange at the same time because you were going to a country where people are not used to black people," Sibaya said.
"At that time I had dreadlocks so they wanted to touch my hair and see if it's real or how does it grow to be this shape and this colour.
"So I had to do a lot of explanations on how I got my hair to look like that. They were just interested to know an African."