The 2018 FIFA World Cup Tournament, held in Russia, may be over, and students of history may be putting together their findings, in terms of successes and challenges, for the future perfection of the global event that comes up every four years.
While soccer technocrats may be neck-deep into issues like security, attendance and the introduction of the VAR, some of us are impressed with the French team for its virtual representation of the African continent.
Looking into the crystal ball ahead of the titanic clash between France and Croatia, THE PUBLISHER last week catalogued the ‘African representation’ in the Les Bleus and gave its thumbs up to those who made it happen.
The paper listed all the fourteen, out of of the 23-member French squad that have African lineages, and shared the continent’s joy about the historic development.
We proudly listed the Africans in the squad that were eventually to lift the cup as follows:
1) Presnel Kimpembe – Congo
2) Samuel Umtiti – Cameroon
3) Paul Pogba- Guinea
4) Kylian Mbappé – Cameroon/Algeria
5) Ousmane Dembélé – Senegal/Mali
6) Corentin Tolisso – Togo
7) N’Golo Kanté – Mali
8) Blaise Matuidi – DR Congo/ Angola
9) Steven Nzonzi – DR Congo
10) Steve Mandanda – DR Congo
11) Adil Rami – Morocco
12) Nabil Fekir – Algeria
13) Djibril Sidibé – Senegal
14) Benjamin Mendy – Senegal
What we find more joyous, after our editorial and the subsequent France victory, was that statement by the French Coach, Didier Deschamp, to the media. Here him:
“It has always been the case that the French team has always had players from Africa and from other countries and territories, and not just in football but in other sports.
“They are all French and they are all proud to be French,” he added, “but through their origins, through their childhood, they have friends, they have families in these countries so they have a certain attachment to these countries and a certain pride that these people will see them play in a World Cup Final.”
Once Again, we at THE PUBLISHER are not only proud that African can be indirectly counted as playing a role in this victory. What the French coach told the media is, to us, more historic than the victory itself.
Nigeria, Senegal, Tunisia, Egypt, and Morocco, who were ‘elected’ to represent the African continent, must have failed us, but the French Coach has made us proud.
We respect him, and the entire people of France.
Once again, we say: ALEZ LES BLEUS!!!