Scottish Daily Mail
I’VE BEEN CRYING TEARS OF ANGER BUT WE HAVE TO GO ON. WE MUST
SAYS FORMER FRANCE STAR EMMANUEL PETIT
EMMANUEL PETIT, one of the icons of the united France team that won the World Cup in 1998 on home soil, revealed how he cried ‘tears of anger’ after the terrorist outrage in his home city of Paris.
Petit lives in one of the neighbourhoods targeted on Friday.
The former Arsenal star said: ‘I was supposed to go to the game but I changed my mind for personal reasons. I live 10 minutes away. There are still friends that we have not heard from, so it’s an anxious wait still for news.
‘I have lived in the same neighbourhood for the last 20 years and during the weekend it is usually a place that is full of life, but from Friday night there has been no one on the streets and everything is closed. It is like a war zone or a ghost city.
‘I was watching the game and I heard the explosions. I knew it was something more powerful than just the usual fireworks. I sensed something was wrong. Then my wife started receiving text messages from friends asking if we were OK because people know we live close by. We put the news channel on and started to see what was happening.
‘We have been attacked many times in France but usually the attack is directed at politicians or journalists. This is the first time the attack is on people just enjoying themselves. We are very, very sad in France but we are also very, very angry. I have been crying watching the scenes on television but they are tears of anger.’
Petit has urged football to continue in defiance both tomorrow at Wembley and at next summer’s Euros in France, insisting the only way to respond to the horror is with a life-affirming continuation of sport.
‘Of course we have to play the (England) game. We have to go on doing the things that we enjoy doing,’ he said.
‘The game has to go ahead even though no one can really focus on the match itself. It has to take place. People have to go on living. We have to show them that: “It doesn’t matter how many people you kill, we will always be here in front of you and ready to fight against you. You are cowards”.
‘We have to show them that we will keep on doing what we do and we will stick together.’
Petit will be working at next summer’s European Championships, having been a major part of the team — drawn from all ethnic backgrounds in the country — that won the 1998 World Cup in Paris. He backed the tournament and called for a greater unity to fight the threat, saying: ‘The Euros in France must go ahead. I will be working with television during the tournament and I am naturally quite concerned about the security, but we all have to work together sharing resources and sharing information all the time.
‘I think that is something that is missing. We need to be friendlier with each other and more co-operative against these people because they want to kill humanity, so it doesn’t matter what differences we may have among ourselves. We have to be united. We all need to work together ahead of that tournament to make sure nothing can happen.’
A campaigner against racism in football, Petit also stressed that the anger people were feeling should not be directed at the wrong targets.
‘Of course it is difficult to put a face on the enemy because they are shadows, but we have to guard against the rise of racism,’ he said.
He told Sportsmail that he had listened to an interview with a young French boy of Arab descent who had been walking near the stadium on Friday night. He now said he was afraid of two things — one of being a victim of an attack but also of how he would be treated by his fellow Frenchmen and women and what they will think of him.
‘We need to be intelligent,’ said Petit. ‘Intelligent and united.’
The DFB, German football’s governing body, has confirmed that tomorrow’s friendly fixture against the Netherlands will also proceed as originally scheduled.
Germany were forced to sleep in the Stade de France after Friday’s 2-0 friendly defeat by France, during which the attacks in Paris began, but the DFB are determined to play the fixture at Hannover’s HDI-Arena, saying in a statement: ‘(In a) stance for freedom and one against terror, (Germany) will play.’
Dr. Reinhard Rauball, the DFB’s vice-president, said: ‘The message is clear — we will not be intimidated by terror. The fact that the game will go ahead just a few days after the atrocious events from the international in Paris is a necessary step.’
Team manager Oliver Bierhoff added: ‘We wanted to set a stance of togetherness as a team. With the French population, with all those connected to the victims.
‘The whole team, players, coaches and backroom staff — it’s still affecting them a lot.
‘They therefore all know how important it is to take a stance and campaign for our values and cultures as a national team.’
However, the draw for the eighth round of the Coupe de France, which was scheduled to take place at Paris’ Vincennes racecourse on Tuesday, has been cancelled.
Confirmation of a new date and venue will be made as soon as possible for the draw between the 88 teams due to play on December 5 and 6.
We must show terrorists: ‘We will always be ready to fight against you’