Teen soccer player receives death threats for using wrong flag emoji

An under 16 soccer player has received death threats for using the wrong flag emoji in an Instagram post.
An under 16 soccer player has received death threats due to using the wrong flag emoji in a social media post.

Amirul Ashrafiq Hanifah, who plays for the Malaysian Under 16 soccer team, posted the Polish flag emoji in an Instagram post instead of the Indonesian flag emoji.

The post shows the Malaysian Under 16 soccer team about to fly off for the AFF U-16 Championship in Indonesia with the words: “AFF U-16 Wish Us Luck” followed by the Malaysian flag.

Underneath the post, a further message says “off to” followed by the Polish flag emoji which has been branded a disrespectful upside down Indonesian flag. 

The Indonesian flag and Polish flags are similar due to one side being white and the other being red. 

The post drew outrage from portions of the online Indonesian community, who accused the young sports star of insulting the country. 

Screenshots of a viral social media post on Instagram ask whether the teen soccer player should be killed with 92% of respondents saying yes and only 8% saying no.

The Malaysian star did apologise for the post on his own Instagram, but due to the backlash he has since set his profile to private. The Football Association of Malaysia’s Facebook page did however reshare the post.

In the post, Mr Hanifah said: “I would like to apologize to all Indonesians for my error the other day. I had no intention of provoking anyone, as it was an honest mistake. I hope the issue will not be blown out of proportion, and I sincerely apologize again”

A further statement issued by the Football Association of Malaysia reads: “National U-16 player, Amirul Ashrafiq Hanifah has apologised for mistakenly uploading the wrong flag of Indonesia on Instagram.”

The association further commented: “We hope this issue is resolved and everyone can shift their focus to the 2018 AFF U-16 Championship in Surabaya starting today.”
Lauren Williams 17 September 2018

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