Origi: My dad advised me to appreciate my Kenyan roots
Liverpool star Divock Origi has opened up on how his father once urged him to appreciate his Kenyan roots after he’d been racially abused while playing football at the age of 12.
The Liverpool forward was born in Belgium to former Kenyan forward Mike Okoth and went on to receive his football education at Genk where the incident happened.
He says he was once shouted at and called things “that were not human” after his side went four goals ahead during the youth league fixture.
Origi, who’s been part of the Liverpool team that won both the English Premier League and UEFA Champions League in the past year, narrated this story in a five minute Instagram TV video for Bleacher Report.
“He was standing there. Older, caucasian guy, grey hair, just yelling at me. He was racially abusing me, calling me all sorts of names,” Origi explained.
“I remember looking at him and the more I looked at him, the more he went aggressive that I’m older because of my skin colour because I was taller.”
“I remember the way back home was quite tough because you’re in a state where you feel humiliated. You feel attacked. You feel vulnerable.”
“As a 12-year old, you don’t really have the full understanding to be able to put it in the right perspective. So eventually, you just end up with a lot of sadness and that’s when you go to your parents and my dad is somebody I respect a lot.”
“I remember asking ‘why, why did he do this? Why would someone do something like that?'”
“And the only thing my dad could do is show compassion, and even though he wasn’t there, I remember him wish that he could be there to protect me. The only thing he did say is that there’s something you might not be able to understand it’s about focussing more on yourself and who you are and embracing where you come from ‘because there are people that are not happy or don’t want to celebrate the fact that you have a different skin tone.”