Adventure Of Guy Acolatse, The First Colored Player In Germany

Back in the early 1960s, Hamburg was still healing wounds after World War II was engulfed by a terrible storm in 1962. But a year later, the port city was the place for a special event, when Germany welcomed the first black player in history – Guy Acolatse.

Adventure Of Guy Acolatse, The First Colored Player In Germany

Adventure of Guy Acolatse, the first colored player in Germany

It was an early summer day in 1963, and a taxi pulled up outside Wilhelm Koch yard. A young colored man jumped out of the car, surprised to see the crowd gathered in front of the home of St. Pauli. He turned and asked the middle-aged man beside him: “Why so many people? Is there a match today? ” He replied, “No, they came here for you” while trying to tuck the guy back into the car but failed.

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That colored guy is Guy Acolatse, the Togo player. And the middle-aged man is Otto Westphal, the new coach of St. Pauli. Previously, Westphal was leading the Togo team when he received an invitation from the home team. And he asked the student, “St. Pauli is in need of a number 10. Do you want to go to Germany? ”. As a result, Guy Acolatse turned down offers from France and Belgium to follow in his footsteps.

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The appearance of a black player immediately attracted special attention in the city of Hamburg. The Bild newspaper then snatched the headline “Black as darkness, as fast as antelope and strong as a rifle” to describe St. Rookie. Pauli. The Germans were even surprised when Guy Acolatse was able to type, with a “look, he’s not only kicking but typing” attitude.

Acolatse (left) has had many years in the shirt color Hamburg
Acolatse (left) has had many years in the shirt color Hamburg

In the 1960s, the difference in skin color made this Togo player welcomed with a cautious attitude, even somewhat afraid. Guy Acolatse recounted: “Once I went for a driver’s license test, the policeman kept staring at me. So I rolled my eyes and approached, and he was so afraid that he kept backing to the wall. ” Of course, it was a harmless joke. As for colleagues, Acolatse almost no problem at all. He quickly worked with them, but when a teammate took Acolatse home to show off to his family, his mother was afraid to faint when he saw a black guy standing outside the door.

Guy Acolatse himself often used that fear to intimidate opponents. He often told his accompanying player: “Hey, touching me is … biting.” This tactic proved quite effective on the field, but it did not work in the stands. Rival fans of the opponent still do not regret the insults Acolatse with unpleasant words like “black son of a bitch” or “black pig”.

But contrary to the stigma elsewhere, Hamburg is very tolerant of Togo. You can freely go to bars or discos without any problems. Guy Acolatse even close friends with filmmaker Gunter Sachs and has appeared in one of his films, starring with the famous Danish actress, Gitte Henning. The film attracted so special attention to women that Acolatse recounted that whenever he went to the bar, he was often twisted by his sisters.

Guy Acolatse in St. Pauli in 1964
Guy Acolatse in St. Pauli in 1964

Of course, outside of the vibrant life outside, Guy Acolatse is still very professional on the pitch. He scored the first goal for St. Pauli in a friendly match at Buedelsdorf in August 1963 and a few days later, debuted in a 4-1 win over Altona 93 in the Regionalliga Nord. After that presentation, the Hamburger Abendblatt gave Acolatse a lot of praise and affirmed that he “was on his way to becoming the best player of St. Pauli ”.

Summer 1964, St. Pauli faced Bayern Munich in the play-off series to qualify for the Bundesliga and lost both matches with 0-4 and 1-6 scores. However, Guy Acolatse was the scorer for the home team, in a confrontation with a player who also made his debut for Bayern and later became the legend of German football: Franz Beckenbauer. Westphal’s parting coach Pauli after the 1963/64 season made Acolatse lose its position under the successors of Otto Corps and Kurt Krause. As a result, he had to move to HSV Barmbek Uhlenhorst, before returning to wear the St. B team. Pauli in 1970 then retired and became a coach.

Lives in Paris, but Hamburg is still home

Guy Acolatse now lives with his daughter in the Paris suburb of Saint-Denis, not far from the Stade de France. But the former Togo player has not relieved his nostalgia for Hamburg. In an interview with Die Welt (Germany), he said: “For me, Germany is my second home. That’s where I grew up. And Hamburg is my home”. Of course, if he returned there he would not be the focus of everyone like he first came here in 1963.

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Stubborn love

Despite the difference in skin color, Guy Acolatse has a special attraction for women. He once dated Greek singer Vicky Leandros before the relationship broke down because of his father’s discriminatory attitude. Acolatse later married Elke, a German woman but because of his heroism, this marriage also broke down. His last love was with a French student studying law in Hamburg. The pregnant girl and Acolatse promised that if he had a daughter, he would follow his wife to live in Paris. His daughter was born in 1980 and Acolatse kept his promise.

800. Guy Acolatse now lives in the Paris suburb of Saint-Denis with a pension of 800 euros per month. But despite his meager income, he was satisfied with his life, “healthy, good night and now the grandfather of three kids”.

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