Aaron Tshibola has told of the sense of pride he feels taking the knee for a black manager at Kilmarnock.
The Londoner has been brought to the club by Alex Dyer, reuniting a working relationship shared in 2018-19 when Tshibola was on loan from Aston Villa and Dyer was Steve Clarke’s No. 2.
“The gaffer is an amazing guy,” said 25-year-old Londoner Tshibola.
“Having worked with him previously under Steve Clarke, it is great for him to have the opportunity.
“There is a demand for more opportunities for black managers and black coaches, and it is great to see that in Scotland.
“For Kilmarnock to give the gaffer the job is an amazing opportunity, and an amazing step in the right direction.
“Regardless with what’s going on in the world right now, it has been a situation that has gone on for decades.
“So to be heard right now is an amazing step in the right direction.
“There is still a lot of work to be done, but we are making a lot of progress and, for me, that is what matters
“It is amazing for me to know that my peers around me support Black Lives Matter, and all together we can move forward.
“It’s great to know that we are moving in the right direction, and we can only move on and do more.”
— Aaron Tshibola (@AaronTshibola) August 5, 2020
The midfielder gave credit to Clarke for his efforts in promoting black coaches for both club and country.
“He is someone who has made steps in the right direction, and I think there is not enough of that at the minute,” he said.
“With Stephen Reid in the Scotland set-up, and the gaffer now being manager at Killie, we are being heard.
“And all we can do is continue to be heard. All we want are equal opportunities. All we can do is fight for equality.”
Tshibola is fighting on the financial front, too, as he is still pursuing his last club, Aves in Portugal, for unpaid wages.
“I’m owed a good amount of my contract at the club, so I have left the matter with my solicitors,” he said.
“They’re dealing with that case, which has been discussed with the Portuguese Federation, FIFA and so on. Hopefully I can get to the bottom of that.
“I headed out there to witness something different – and certainly got it!
“It was quite hard, and it was frustrating for me because the club was just in a
“Working every single day and not being able to get your hard-earned money is never nice.
“Sometimes you love football so much you just overlook the money side of things.
“I was just going in every day and training and playing football.
“But we all have families and kids and we have to do what’s best for them. We have to take care of ourselves.
“I tried my best to stay as long as I could, and overlook these things.
“It was definitely different to anything I’d experienced before in Britain. I had to have patience and humbleness about myself and hope for the best. But it never really came.
“Now I am back with a club that suits me, and I feel really good.
“Kilmarnock is a family club. Everyone is just honest and hard-working, so I’m just delighted to be in such great surroundings.”
Tshibola’s return has rekindled memories of a celebrated Rugby Park victory over today’s opponents Celtic two years ago.
“The way we did it, going behind, then equalising before sealing the win in injury time at the end of the game made it all the more special,” said the man who can also list playing for Reading, Hartlepool United, Nottingham Forest, MK Dons and Waasland Beveren in Belgium on his CV.
“It was one of the biggest highlights of my career,” said Tshibola.
“I have had a few but that is one of the biggest for sure.
“And while this is a very different game, with both teams behind closed doors, the aim is the same.”
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