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South African gay soccer player comes out to help young players too scared to be themselves

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The goalie has been the subject of homophobic taunts.

Photo from Sowetan Live

Lekoloane, also known as Phuti Minaj, a 24-year-old goalkeeper who plays in South Africa's ABC Motsepe League, has come out as gay to help young players.

"It will not be about me, but about the young players who are gay and scared to come out," he said in a local radio interview.

Coming out as the first openly gay pro soccer player in South Africa is a ballsy move, as it is anywhere. Lekoloane said he is now accepted by his team and coach but that he has suffered from homophobic taunts.

As time went by other players began to understand him and have since become supportive. He said they posed many questions about his life as a homosexual man.

But he will not forget the hurtful things said about him. "I remember when we lost against Alexandra United, one defender noted that we lost because 'they have a gay in the team'."

"I cried because it hurt me. I went straight to talk to the coach immediately," he said.

Lekoloane's team, JDR Stars, won its league this season.