A Sudanese man who works closely with troubled youths says there is a real problem with African gangs in Melbourne.
Nelly Yoa, a professional athlete who trialled for leading English soccer teams before becoming a youth worker, has slammed claims gangs are not running rampant.
Mr Yoa, who was himself the victim of a violent machete attack in 2011, has hit out at politicians and police in an aggressive opinion piece for The Age on Tuesday.
Following a spate of gang violence across Melbourne's west in recent weeks, Mr Yoa says it's time to admit there is 'an issue with Sudanese gangs' but that it can be fixed.
Scroll down for video
Nelly Yoa (pictured), a professional athlete who trialled for leading English soccer teams before becoming a youth worker, has slammed claims gangs are not a problem in Melbourne
In an aggressive opinion piece he said claims by politicians that the Apex gang and Menace to Society did not exist had left him 'furious' (Pictured is damage caused by gangs in Melbourne)
After being tormented by the Apex gang for a number of years, the city has in recent times also faced the rise of the so-called 'Menace to Society' gang.
Mr Yoa, who currently plays for Collingwood in the Victorian Football League, said he was left 'furious and in disbelief' after authorities said Sudanese gangs didn't exist.
'Nobody should ever try and cover up or defend this unacceptable behaviour – to do so is immoral and inexplicable,' he wrote.
'It is a fact that South Sudanese are over represented in crime statistics and are causing great harm and fear across communities in Melbourne.'