The woman caught on camera spitting at Kenyan international and KAA Gent defender Joseph Okumu in their Tuesday night 2-1 win over KV Mechelen has been identified.
In a statement on Wednesday, May 11, Gent confirmed that even though the woman identified had issued an extensive apology, Mechelen would take an extra step and sanction her.
The Harambee Stars defender was humiliated by a KV Mechelen fan in the 78th minute, shortly after substituting Andreas Hanche-Olsen.
"The exciting match between KV Mechelen and KAA Gent was disgraced on Tuesday by a supporter of the home team who spat at our player Joseph Okumu. KV Mechelen knew immediately after the match to take this incident very seriously,” stated the club
“The club has meanwhile revealed the identity of the supporter. The person in question has apologized extensively, but KV Mechelen will nevertheless take the necessary steps to reach an appropriate sanction. KAA Gent would like to thank KV,” concluded the statement.
The viral video caused an uproar from Kenyan football fans who mounted pressure on the Belgian club to act promptly and give an update as the world grappled with racial abuse in various leagues across Europe.
Mechelen responded swiftly and KAA Gent commended them for their quick concern and response on the matter.
"Let’s be clear, this has no place in our stadium, in any football stadium. We provided the footage to our security team. Appropriate follow-up will be given," KV Mechelen responded.
The game which saw Mechelen lose in their home stadium was unpredictable with Cameroonian Michael Ngadeu scoring the first goal in the 36th minute and Mechelen’s Geoffry Hairemans making the two teams draw.
Gent’s Tarik Tissoudali scored the last goal making the club win the match in the fourth minute of the stoppage time.
Okumu, 24, was nurtured during high school games at Kakamega High, where he was on the same team as his Harambee Stars counterpart Eric Ouma.
From Kakamega High, he joined Chemelil Sugar, then a Kenya Premier League side, before he was signed by Free State Stars of South Africa in 2018.
Okumu later moved to Real Monarchs in the United States of America up to 2019 before making his European debut with Sweden’s Elfsborg. He was signed by KAA Gent in 2021 after a successful stint with Elfsborg.