Social media and Kaizer Chiefs fans were in a frenzy after an announcement on Twitter that a player was gay.
Though the account has since been deleted, iReport South Africa News released a statement claiming to be from a soccer star about his journey to coming out, “You build it in your head that everyone’s going to react badly,” the alleged soccer star was quoted as saying.
“You live this double life where you’ve got a secret about yourself and you don’t want people to find out”.
Furthermore, The Citizen shared photos with the headline, “Is this [the player] kissing a man?”
However, the player in question did not comment on the claim, but Kaizer Chiefs Corporate Communications Manager, Vina Alpheus Maphosa, did confirm that the story is fake news.
“The story is fake and we would not like to give it credibility by a response,” adding that it isn’t policy for the football club to “request a confirmation of any employees’ sexual orientation – it is a private and personal matter”.
He further divulged that Kaizer Chiefs is looking into launching an awareness campaign to promote inclusion among fans and in the sport “around accepting ALL human beings, regardless of their sexual orientation, social and or demographic background”.
Since the article has been shared online, another story claiming four other players from Orlando Pirates are said to have disclosed to their coach and teammates that they are gay, but this story has also been lambasted as false.
Phuti Lekoloane is said to be the only confirmed openly gay footballer in South Africa, who came out in 2016.
“I refuse to be isolated or discriminated [against],” says Lekoloane on facing discrimination as an athlete, using people’s divisive comments as “motivation to go out there and perform”.