Didier Drogba and Samuel Eto’o have slammed suggestions made by two France-based doctors that Africa should be used as a test site for a solution to the ongoing coronavirus crisis.
COVID-19 has decimated sport, with major events across the world suspended indefinitely amid pandemic.
Professors Jean-Paul Mira of Cochin Hospital in Paris and Camille Locht of INSERM (France’s national medical research centre) were debating possible COVID-19 cures on French television channel La Chaine Info on Thursday, and Mira asked: “If I may be provocative, should this study not be done in Africa?”
Locht then replied: “You are right. We are currently thinking similarly about a study in Africa regarding the BCG vaccine. There is a proposal that has gone out — or will. We will seriously consider it.”
Drogba, who won four league titles and the Champions League during his career at Chelsea, criticised the idea.
“It is totally inconceivable we keep on cautioning this,” he wrote on Twitter. “Africa is not a testing lab.
“I would like to vividly denounce those demeaning, false and most of all deeply racists words. Helps us save Africa with the current ongoing Covid 19 and flatten the curve.”
Drogba also pleaded with African leaders to offer greater protection from such threats.
“Let us save ourselves from this crazy virus that is plummeting the world economy and ravaging populations health worldwide,” he added. “Do not take African people as human guinea pigs! It is absolutely disgusting.
“African leaders have a responsibility to protect their populations from those horrendous conspiracies. May god protect us!”
Istanbul Basaksehir forward Demba Ba also reacted angrily on Twitter in a separate post, which read: “Welcome to the West. Where white people believe that they are so superior that racism and stupidity are the norm.”
Former Barcelona and Inter forward Samuel Eto’o replied to Ba’s tweet with the words: “Sons of b———.”
Cameroon international Aurelien Chedjou joined the chorus of African players to condemn the idea that vaccine testing for the coronavirus should be done in Africa.
“How can we not be shocked by these kinds of comments, especially as they are on a channel that’s seen by millions and millions of people?” Amiens defender Chedjou asked.
“Of course I’m shocked, these statements shocked everyone, not just black people but also white people who cannot understand such words.
“How can we test products in Africa when we know there are the most cases in Europe? I don’t need to give you the figures in Italy, France, Spain and Portugal. We can’t let these kinds of comments pass.”
In a statement, INSERM defended the comments made by Locht, and argued that the video had been “the subject of erroneous interpretation,” although it’s a defence not accepted by Chedjou.
“We can’t deny that these French people have spoken about Africa in terms that, for me, are racist,” he added. “They are saying that we didn’t understand them well, but no, we didn’t understand anything incorrectly.
“We understood exactly what there is to understand, that Africa, for them, is like a rubbish bin.
“[The professors] carried on with this line, talking about prostitutes without condoms and everything, but does he really thing that there are no prostitutes in Europe?”
French and African football has been in mourning this week following the death of former Marseille president Pape Diouf at the age of 68 after contracting coronavirus.