Congolese-German starter for Wolfsburg, Ridle Baku 22, admits that it is not easy for a black person to becomes a professional footballer in Germany, he speaks on racism in Germany.
Baku was born in the Western German City of Mainz to Congolese parents. Named Bote Nzuzu Baku, his father named him Ridle in honour of German World Cup winner and Borussia Dortmund Champions League winner Karl-Heinz Riedle. He legally added “Ridle” to his name in 2018.
He told DW that being black he had to do more than the white players.
“It’s not easy for a young Black guy to want to become a professional football player,” he tells DW. “You always have to perform well as a Black player. You have to do more than the white players, you have to work more, you have to perform better. That’s 100% true and it’s been in my head since I was young.”
African players have a record of always having to preform better than their white counterparts, this has been noted by the fact that the first black player to play for Germany did so in 1974.
The player was Erwin Kostedde who said he could hear people in the crowd ushering racial slurs to take the black person off.
“We have to fix this problem. For me, it starts with the youth. Children have to learn that it doesn’t matter how someone looks.”
Ridle Baku says that as a professional football player he has the responsibility to stand up and say something when it comes to issues about racism in Germany, and all over the world.
More players need to come forth and take the lead in fighting this fight.
“I speak my home language Lingala and also German and I play for the national team,” he tells DW. “I will never forget my origins. I’m German, but I’m also Congolese, I can never forget the other half of me.”