ALL five of Africa’s representatives – Egypt, Senegal, Morocco, Tunisia and Nigeria – crashed out of the ongoing 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia. None of them made the knock out stages with a string of disappointing displays in their respective groups.
But there is reason for football-crazy Africans to continue following the competition with a certain measure of national / continental pride. This situation has arisen as a result of the African links of some players – who opted to play for a number of the remaining European teams.
At the semi-final stage of the competition, three of the four teams have players with African roots – France, Belgium and England.
The French team, which beat Belgium yesterday, has about a dozen such players. There were eight in the Belgium side whilst England has two – Delle Alli (Nigerian father) and Danny Welbeck (Ghanaian parents).
Indeed, during his recent visit to Nigeria, French President Emmanuel Macron said France deserved Nigerian support with the Super Eagles out of the competition.
France has severally been referred to as the sole African country remaining and thus, the Les Bleus have also attracted the support of a number of football fans across Africa.
An article published by The Undefeated news portal said France was ‘the World Cup’s last “African” team’ in reference to their tally of 12 players with African ancestry spanning nine African nations.
The standout French player in Russia happens to be 19-year-old Kylian Mbappe who is of Cameroonian and Algerian descent.
France’s Africa contingent at 2018 World Cup
- Kylian Mbappe – Cameroon / Algeria roots
- Paul Pogba – Guinea
- Steve Mandanda – Democratic Republic of Congo
- Blaise Matuidi – Angola / Congo
- Ngolo Kante – Mali
- Ousmane Dembele – Senegal, Mali, Mauritania
- Nabil Fekir – Algerian
- Samuel Umtiti – Cameroon
- Adil Rami – Morocco
- Benjamin Mendy – Senegal
- Djibril Sidibe – Senegal
- Presnel Kimpembe – Democratic Republic of Congo
It is therefore not surprising that most Africans will be rooting for France at the final on Sunday.