Eder Africa or Europe?

Eder Africa or Europe – why do so many ‘African’ footballers play for European teams?

 

In the end, the European Championships were decided by Eder – a 28 year old born in the tiny West African country of Guinea-Bissau. His extra-time goal spoiled France’s party in Paris, as the hosts lost in front of their partisan crowd. France have caught many fans eyes, not just for their flair, but for the number of players featuring for Les Bleus who are of African descent. The murmurs have grown as France have progressed in the tournament, but on Sunday night, when Elder poured the punch down the sink and tore down the party bunting, the murmurs were now questions: why do so many footballers of African origin playing for European countries?

Ultimately, it’s a question of dual nationalities and citizenship. The migration of people from Francophone countries to France is very common, so the African influence on France should come as little surprise. French’s Ligue 1 could be mistaken for a West African soccer league. But the likes of Spain, Belgium, Sweden, England, Germany and eventual winners Portugal have players who could have played for other countries. Diego Costa (Brazil), Ibrahimovic (Croatia/Serbia), Mesut Ozil (Turkey), Nani (Cape Verde), Romelu Lukaku (DRC) and also Delle Alli, Ross Barkley, David Alaba (Nigeria). Eder himself was born in Guinea-Bissau, a country of less than 2 billion, and only acquired Portuguse citizenship in 2012.

Les Bleus or Le Black?
Yet the migration of players is most notable in France. Most of the famous French players who have featured for Les Black Blues are playing for France because they are born in France (surprise!), but have enough African blood running through their veins to paint the Eiffel Tower red. From Paul Pogba (born to Guinean parents) and Samuel Umtiti (born in Cameroon) to Moussa Sissoko & N’golo Kante (born to Mali parents), Bacary Sagna (Senegalese parents), Blase Matuidi (Angolan father) and Patrice Evra (born in Senegal).

Previously, we had players like Zidane (Algeria), Vieira (Senegal) and Claude Makelele (Congo), Desailly (Ghana). Of the current players in the French squad, some had the chance to play for an African country. Kante turned down Mali in 2015, before making his debut for France in 2016 after a great club season. Umtiti said ‘No’ to Cameroon’s advances in 2014. Evra claims he followed his heart in choosing France over Senegal, and later lamented receiving racist abuse while on a visit to Senegal. Matuidi’s parents fled civil war in Angola and he could have even chosen Belgium, ahead of France. Pogba plays for France, his two twin brothers Florentin and Matthias have been capped by Guinea.

Yet there are hundreds of footballers in a similar situation who have chosen the opposite route: born in France, but playing for African countries. The most notable names are Pierre Emerick Aubameyang (Gabon), the Ayew brothers (Ghana), Frederic Kanoute (Mali) and Demba Ba (Senegal). These players knew that they stood a better chance of playing international football if they choose the African option.

FIFA Eligibility Rules
The FIFA rule book gives the best grounds to understand dual nationality decisions. Since 2004, these rules have been stricter and can be seen in Regulations on Eligibility to play for representative team: especially Article 5, 7, and 8. For simplicity sake, I will will use Senegal and France as an example, but the following are some factors that come into play:

  • A player can play for France if born in France but their biological parent/grandparents are born in Senegal. Such a player can also play for Senegal, depending on other factors.
  • A player can play for France if they have lived in France for at least 5 years, after you turned 18?
  • A player can play for France even if he played for Senegal in unofficial games (Youth level and senior friendlies). The opposite also applies.
  • A player must have his French passport already when he plays for Senegal in Youth games, if he wishes to play for France later.

There are obviously variations depending on individual countries’ immigration/citizenship rules & complex legal interpretations that will affect individual cases.

It is a broad question that has no definite answers. In fact, it raises further questions: Are the (semi) African players symbolic of other precious local resources taken out Africa and seen as valuable in the West? Is France’s economical and political influence still so huge that it affect the migration routes of Francophone countries (Britain had as many colonies as France, but not as clear an African migration trail)? Should CAF (the Confederation of African football) be doing more to attract players with African roots to play at home? In the end, it is a decision that a player takes personally, and like any immigrant-related decision, it is influenced by family, friends, economic opportunity, personal ambition and the law.

Sources

http://www.bbc.com/sport/football/35343401.
http://lcclc.info/index.php/2016/05/26/france-s-umtiti-cameroonian-who-refused-to-play-for-cameroon-left-out-of-the-french-squad-just-like-roger-milla-said/.
http://www.goal.com/en-za/news/4642/2017-africa-cup-of-nations/2014/12/12/6993582/lyons-samuel-umtiti-snubs-cameroon.
https://www.quora.com/When-can-a-footballer-switch-national-teams.
http://www.trueafrica.co/lists/10-african-born-footballers-chose-represent-european-nation/.
http://www.nairaland.com/1797058/africa-born-footballers-playing-non-african.
http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2015/03/footballers-changing-lanes-150303134744068.html.
http://www.completesportsnigeria.com/lost-in-transit-33-nigerian-footballers-playing-for-other-countries/.
http://www.independent.co.uk/sport/football/international/euro-2016-france-accused-of-excluding-players-of-african-origin-from-squad-for-tournament-a7058371.html.
http://www.espnfc.com/story/793670/world-cup-2010-frances-patrice-evra-reveals-racist-abuse.

Eder Africa or Europe?

Eder Africa or Europe – why do so many ‘African’ footballers play for European teams?

 

In the end, the European Championships were decided by Eder – a 28 year old born in the tiny West African country of Guinea-Bissau. His extra-time goal spoiled France’s party in Paris, as the hosts lost in front of their partisan crowd. France have caught many fans eyes, not just for their flair, but for the number of players featuring for Les Bleus who are of African descent. The murmurs have grown as France have progressed in the tournament, but on Sunday night, when Elder poured the punch down the sink and tore down the party bunting, the murmurs were now questions: why do so many footballers of African origin playing for European countries?

Ultimately, it’s a question of dual nationalities and citizenship. The migration of people from Francophone countries to France is very common, so the African influence on France should come as little surprise. French’s Ligue 1 could be mistaken for a West African soccer league. But the likes of Spain, Belgium, Sweden, England, Germany and eventual winners Portugal have players who could have played for other countries. Diego Costa (Brazil), Ibrahimovic (Croatia/Serbia), Mesut Ozil (Turkey), Nani (Cape Verde), Romelu Lukaku (DRC) and also Delle Alli, Ross Barkley, David Alaba (Nigeria). Eder himself was born in Guinea-Bissau, a country of less than 2 billion, and only acquired Portuguse citizenship in 2012.

Les Bleus or Le Black?
Yet the migration of players is most notable in France. Most of the famous French players who have featured for Les Black Blues are playing for France because they are born in France (surprise!), but have enough African blood running through their veins to paint the Eiffel Tower red. From Paul Pogba (born to Guinean parents) and Samuel Umtiti (born in Cameroon) to Moussa Sissoko & N’golo Kante (born to Mali parents), Bacary Sagna (Senegalese parents), Blase Matuidi (Angolan father) and Patrice Evra (born in Senegal).

Previously, we had players like Zidane (Algeria), Vieira (Senegal) and Claude Makelele (Congo), Desailly (Ghana). Of the current players in the French squad, some had the chance to play for an African country. Kante turned down Mali in 2015, before making his debut for France in 2016 after a great club season. Umtiti said ‘No’ to Cameroon’s advances in 2014. Evra claims he followed his heart in choosing France over Senegal, and later lamented receiving racist abuse while on a visit to Senegal. Matuidi’s parents fled civil war in Angola and he could have even chosen Belgium, ahead of France. Pogba plays for France, his two twin brothers Florentin and Matthias have been capped by Guinea.

Yet there are hundreds of footballers in a similar situation who have chosen the opposite route: born in France, but playing for African countries. The most notable names are Pierre Emerick Aubameyang (Gabon), the Ayew brothers (Ghana), Frederic Kanoute (Mali) and Demba Ba (Senegal). These players knew that they stood a better chance of playing international football if they choose the African option.

FIFA Eligibility Rules
The FIFA rule book gives the best grounds to understand dual nationality decisions. Since 2004, these rules have been stricter and can be seen in Regulations on Eligibility to play for representative team: especially Article 5, 7, and 8. For simplicity sake, I will will use Senegal and France as an example, but the following are some factors that come into play:

  • A player can play for France if born in France but their biological parent/grandparents are born in Senegal. Such a player can also play for Senegal, depending on other factors.
  • A player can play for France if they have lived in France for at least 5 years, after you turned 18?
  • A player can play for France even if he played for Senegal in unofficial games (Youth level and senior friendlies). The opposite also applies.
  • A player must have his French passport already when he plays for Senegal in Youth games, if he wishes to play for France later.

There are obviously variations depending on individual countries’ immigration/citizenship rules & complex legal interpretations that will affect individual cases.

It is a broad question that has no definite answers. In fact, it raises further questions: Are the (semi) African players symbolic of other precious local resources taken out Africa and seen as valuable in the West? Is France’s economical and political influence still so huge that it affect the migration routes of Francophone countries (Britain had as many colonies as France, but not as clear an African migration trail)? Should CAF (the Confederation of African football) be doing more to attract players with African roots to play at home? In the end, it is a decision that a player takes personally, and like any immigrant-related decision, it is influenced by family, friends, economic opportunity, personal ambition and the law.

Sources

http://www.bbc.com/sport/football/35343401.
http://lcclc.info/index.php/2016/05/26/france-s-umtiti-cameroonian-who-refused-to-play-for-cameroon-left-out-of-the-french-squad-just-like-roger-milla-said/.
http://www.goal.com/en-za/news/4642/2017-africa-cup-of-nations/2014/12/12/6993582/lyons-samuel-umtiti-snubs-cameroon.
https://www.quora.com/When-can-a-footballer-switch-national-teams.
http://www.trueafrica.co/lists/10-african-born-footballers-chose-represent-european-nation/.
http://www.nairaland.com/1797058/africa-born-footballers-playing-non-african.
http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2015/03/footballers-changing-lanes-150303134744068.html.
http://www.completesportsnigeria.com/lost-in-transit-33-nigerian-footballers-playing-for-other-countries/.
http://www.independent.co.uk/sport/football/international/euro-2016-france-accused-of-excluding-players-of-african-origin-from-squad-for-tournament-a7058371.html.
http://www.espnfc.com/story/793670/world-cup-2010-frances-patrice-evra-reveals-racist-abuse.

The Book: A gift from my Uncle Gray.

old-book-smell_5“Every sports fan has a moment that binds them to their chosen game.” (Jon Hotten)

Around my 12th birthday, my soccer-loving uncle, Gray Ncube had promised me a football book for a gift. Half-expecting a glossy magazine with Robbie Fowler and Alan Shearer posters for my wall, I was rather bleak to only get a thick old, dusty, smelly, black & white book. My disappointment must have been published on my face for the old man to see and maybe regret his act of kindness.

So, as any 12 year old that is unhappy with their birthday present would do, I sulked for a while, ignoring ‘the book’. One random day, I opened it one day to find the title: ‘The History of Football’.

I have forgotten who the authors were, but as I read a few pages, a small voice in my head kept saying “Not bad”. I read a few more pages and that voice grew louder … “Interesting”. Pages turned into sections and section turned into chapters. ‘The book’ was a 300-page volume highlighting the origins of football/soccer as we know it today, the growth of the game and with details of World Cups from 1930 all the way to 1974.

Soon I was addicted to ‘the book’. And for the next 6 years, I would read ‘the book’ like one would read a bible – devotion-ally.  I would read it while other kids went out to play. When it rained, I would coil myself in my bed, under a blanket with a torch and read ‘the book’. At times I would read it while eating, and sometimes even in the toilet (ew!!). Sometimes, I fell sleep while reading, only to wake up in the morning to continue digging through ‘the book’.

By the time I was 18, I knew that book inside out – who played in what final, who scored, how and when they scored. An unfortunate incident resulted in the loss of ‘the book’ (and a few other personal treasures) but by then, that knowledge was locked into mind and heart.

Now every-time I go home, I have a small tradition is that I must go to Uncle Gray’s house (usually bearing a book on his beloved Spurs as a gift). But with Uncle Gray, you don’t go back to tell him how much you know about the game, the time spent with him is a yearly reminder of everything that you still do not know.

They Play. We Read.

old-book-smell_5

Guide to Surviving Football Withdrawal Syndrome.

Defined as “the agonizing mental process of accepting that football season is over” , Football Withdrawal Syndrome affects all fans of the game. FWS (also known as Football Withdrawal Disorder) is a sickness that takes hold once the regular club football season is over, usually at the end of May, going on for about 10 weeks. Symptoms include stress, irritability, mood swings, boredom & plain confusion on what to do with the next 10 weeks of your life. Here’s a  victim’s guide on what to do & what not to do in that time:

5 DO’s.

1. DO Find another sport to fill your time. After all, following football is usually a form of escapism from normal life. Another sport can play placeholder. Rugby (the Super XV coming to an end), basketball (NBA finals in June), tennis (French Open & Wimbledon always in June/July). But don’t get too attached; football can get jealous if you spend too much time with other sports.

2. DO Follow other tournaments. National tournaments organized by FIFA come at this time. The Euro Championships or World Cup come every even-numbered year, while this year the COSAFA Cup, Copa America & FIFA U20 World Cup await.

3. DO Play some footy yourself. Go on, shed some kilos gained while sitting on the couch during the football season. Join a social soccer or 5-a-side team & pretend you are Messi or Pogba. Score a goal & wheel away in celebration, waving & screaming to an imaginary crowd – ‘Are you not entertained. Is this not why you are here?’

4. DO Try out something new. You have about 10 free weekends ahead of you. Learn a musical instrument, improve some golf skills, read a book (not a football book), start a garden, commit to a charity for 10 weeks.

5. DO Spoil her. FWS is not gender specific. But a guy can use the free weekends for quality time with her (or vice-versa). This can even get you brownie points for the coming season – spoil her & she may give you free passes to spend time with the boys in future. But DO NOT, I repeat DO NOT tell her she’s the Ronaldo of your dreams.

5 DONT’s

1. Do not YouTube videos of past glories and legends. To YouTube the days of Zidane, Kaka, Ronaldinho, the Treble winners, Invincibles etc brings some solace. But doing this can be a double-edged sword – making you wonder what has happened to the quality of football nowadays & also makes you miss regular football even more.

2. Do not follow/share transfer rumors. 90% of them are lies anyway. The transfer silly season starts as soon as the final whistle of the last game is blown but following every rumor on every website will make you sick. You start imagining how Player X would fit in your team then boom, Player X moves to join your rival. Not worth it.

3. Do not follow your players on holidays. Avoid following what players are doing on their holidays. Give them a break. Suarez getting his teeth into a player can be followed, but Suarez getting his teeth into a steak with his bikini-clad girlfriend on a South American beach is not news or Facebook-worthy.

4. Do not self medicate with alcohol or some other anti-depressants. If anything, share your feelings with a friend/spouse.

5. Don’t do nothing. That will only make FWS worse. Just sitting & doing nothing does not help. Read the 5 To Do’s above andchoose one or more.

It’s just 10 weeks. We’ll be ok. We’ll cope.

fws3

AFCON 2015 – THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY

During AFCON 2013 in South Africa, I met a visiting Moroccan fan after Bafana played them in Durban and we exchanged numbers. He invited me to his country in 2015 to watch the next edition of the championships. That was before Ebola. Way before Ebola. Ebola came and though it seems to have later disappeared, it was too late – Morocco had freaked out and opted not to host the tournament. CAF responded by kicking them out but Equatorial Guinea saved the day, volunteering to help CAF by hosting the event (a favor to be later repaid).

GROUP STAGES

This was an unpredictable tournament.  Along Eq. Guinea (ranked 32), 15 of the top 17 ranked teams in Africa competed and in an ironic twist, Eq. Guinea’s group featured the 3 least-ranked teams. To be fair, that could be the luck of the draw but it raised a few eyebrows, not least those of vocal (by twitter standards) journalist Neal Collins. Eq. Guinea somehow escaped that group behind Congo with 2 draws and a last-game win against Gabon.  Tunisia and DRC made it through from Group B, while Ghana and pre-tournament favourites Algeria were 1st and 2nd in the group of death, Group C. Bafana had a disappointing tournament (given their preceding form) but their group was undoubtedly the hardest. If Group C was hard, then Group D was the tightest. 5 of the 6 games ended in 1-1 draws, with Drogba-less Ivory Coast’s win over Cameroon making them first among equals. Mali & Guinea drew 1-1 and had to be separated by drawing of lots.

The good: The goal celebrations. Some were good.

The bad: Mali & Guinea being separated by the drawing of lots. A dance-off would have been better.

The ugly: The goal celebrations. Some were awful.

KNOCKOUT STAGES

Onto the quarter finals then; first up was a Congo derby (DRC v Congo) which had me searching the net to find the difference between the two countries? Yep, they are different. DRC (country population 62 million) came back from two goals down to beat Congo (Pop. 4 million) by four goals to two. From the game with the most goals to one with most controversy: Tunisia v Eq. Guinea. Tunisia led 1-0 and they should have won the game with more goals before the late drama.
90+2 mins:          EQ. Guinea player dives to win the cheapest penalty I’ve ever seen. Shocker.

90+3 mins:          Guy named Balboa scores to send game to extra time

100 mins:             Guy named Balboa goes down easily for a foul just outside the box.

101 mins:             same Balboa scores a rather great free kick.

120 mins:             Ref gives 2 injury minutes after Eq. Guinea wasted more than 5 minutes in the 2nd half of extra time alone.

Ghana beat Guinea 3-0 while Ivory Coast overcame Algeria 3-1 in the other two games. The same score lines were repeated in the semis as Ghana beat Eq. Guinea 3-0  & CIV beat DRC 3-1.

The good: 6 goal thriller in the DRC v Congo match. Rumble in the jungle etc.

The bad: The Eq. Guinea/Tunisia was the most baffling officiating I’ve ever seen.

The ugly: Tunisian players. Though understandably hurt, they did not need to chase down the ref after the game. CAF later fined the Tunisian FA $50k.

THE FINAL

Two of the best African teams in the last decade met on Sunday night at the Estadio de Bata, in a repeat of the AFCON 1992 final. Many people thought the final was boring, but I thought it was a good game. Not great, but good. Most finals are cagey anyway, and it was 0-0 after 120 minutes with Christian Atsu of Ghana striking the post in the 1st half. The penalty shootout provided more drama. The Black Stars of Ghana went into a 2-0 lead as the Elephants missed their first two kicks. The second was missed by Tallo (a 120th minute sub), brought on especially for penalty kicks. Bummer. The teams went into sudden death tied on 3-3. The next 5 kickers for both sides all scored, leaving the keepers to decide their nations’ fate at 8-8. Barry saved from the Ghana keeper, before getting up to score the winner. Orange was the new champion.

The good:  The ‘Golden Generation’ of Ivory Coast finally won a trophy.

The bad:     Stadium was half-empty.

The ugly:    Nothing ugly really, quite enjoyed the final.

The next tournament was supposed to be hosted in Libya. But we know Libya is far from friendly. In fact, there is ongoing war in Libya. As it stands, the 2017 hosts are yet to be confirmed. Fancy Equatorial Guinea to volunteer again. Haha,wherever it turns out to be, they will play. And we will just write.

Ivory2

A drama in 5 acts – the story of World Cup 2014.

It was the World Cup of 2014. It was the World Cup of goal line technology, vanishing spray and cooling breaks. It was the World Cup of Rodriguez & Robben, Kroos & Klose, Muller & Mascherano. The World Cup played deep in the Amazon, where the defending champions were humiliated in their 2nd game and the hosts humiliated even further in their 2nd last game. It was the World Cup of gravity defying headers, unforgettable volleys and forgettable bites. It was the World Cup of goalkeeping heroics from Howard, Ospina and Ochoa. The World Cup with the joint all-time record for number of goals scored (171) & where Klose beat the all-time goal scoring record (he has 16). It was a memorable World Cup. In an effort to preserve the memories of arguably the best World Cup in my lifetime (I have followed 5). I have written a summary in the form of a drama in 5 acts – with Act 1 being the Group stages, Act 2 the Round of 16 etc. 32 characters took part in the play, with only one left standing at the end. For the World Cup was just that: a month-long drama that kept us on the edges of our seats before blasting us off right at end.

Act 1: The Group Stages – The Emperor has no clothes.
Enter 32 characters from 5 continents with Spain as the reigning champions. After all the anticipation and preparation, the 2014 World Cup kicked off on 12 June 2014 as the hosts were somewhat fortunate to overcome a talented if limited Croatian side 3-1. A tame 0-0 draw followed for the hosts against a solid Mexican team who would qualify as runners up in Group A. The biggest shock came as early as the 2nd day when the Netherlands humiliated defending champions Spain 5-1, a game that featured a special diving header by Robin van Persie. Spain lost their next game to eventual runners up Chile and won a consolation victory in the end, yet returned to Madrid with their tails between their legs. In Group C, Colombia won many hearts with great performances from one of the players of the tournament James Rodriguez and Greece painfully edged Ivory Coast with an injury time penalty in their group decider. England were also knocked out in the first round alongside Italy, but Uruguay where runners up to surprise survivor Costa Rica. France and Switzerland went through from Group G, and Argentina needed some Messi brilliance to progress from Group F alongside Nigeria. Germany & USA, Belgium & Algeria completed the qualifiers as Africa had 2 qualifiers for the 1st time. 16 characters were eliminated. And then there were 16.

Act 2: The Round of 16 – Tight Affairs.
The high quality of football at these finals was most evident in the Last 16 where 6 of the 8 games were settled by either one goal or less (penalties) with only 3 of 8 games decided in regulation 90 minutes. Besides Germany edging Algeria (even that in extra time) and France beating Nigeria, the other 6 games were so unpredictable that a quarter final line-up made up of the losers would have been unsurprising. Chile lost on penalties, Uruguay only after their star striker Luis Suarez was suspended for their 2-0 loss to Colombia for biting Italian Giorgio Chiellini on the shoulder in their group stages decider, Mexico lost to two goals scored after the 88th minute, Greece lost on penalties, Switzerland lost via a 118th minute goal, USA also lost in extra time. It was so close, only the Group winners from the previous round made it through. And then there were 8.

Act 3: The Quarter Finals – First among Equals
8 group winners; 8 pretenders to the throne; the script could not have been written any better as all 8 teams deserved to be in the quarter finals after winning tight encounters against equally talented teams. Again, the matches were very tight, with 3 games settled by one goal (Fra 0-1 Ger, Bra 2-1 Col, Arg 1 – 0 Bel) while Holland needed the heroics of a last-minute specialist substitute keeper to win on penalties against Costa Rica. And then there were 4.

Act 4: The semi finals – A Nation’s Tragedy
It was as if the football gods were making it up for the previous tight two rounds. Germany arrived at the Estadio Mineirao for their World Cup semi as slight favorites for victory given that star Brazilian striker Neymar was out injured, but what happened next must have shocked even the most patriotic of German fans. After taking a 5-0 lead in the first 30 minutes, the Europeans went on to win 7-1 and in the process breaking all sorts of records – the biggest goal margin in a semi, highest goal concession by Brazil, most talked about sporting event on twitter. As one writer put it, Germany didn’t just crash the Brazilian party; they turned down the music, threw the punch down the sink and tore down the bunting. It was a match for the ages – if not the best performance in modern day football history. The second semi was much tighter with a 0-0 draw that Argentina only won penalties. And then there were 2.

Act 5: The Final – Table for Two
Argentina & Germany met in the final – a repeat of the 1990 final that Germany won. It wasn’t goal-laden but it was a good game where both teams had chances to win it in 120 absorbing minutes. But after 2 extra-time victories against European teams (against Switzerland & Netherlands), Argentina finally crumbled to this one with 7 minutes of extra time remaining. Fittingly for the tournament, a piece of brilliance won it as substitute Mario Gotze chested a cross & volleyed home from a tight angle in one movement. The Germans came, the Germans saw, the Germans conquered. And then there was one.

Was this the greatest tournament ever?
Many seem to think so. And the records speak even louder- an event that was exciting & intriguing in equal, thrilling measure. There must have been 4 matches that at their conclusion were dubbed as Game of the Tournament. But ultimately, the Germans got Europe’s 1st World Cup win in South America and Africa continued to flatter to deceive. For the past half-decade, there has been a tenacious beauty in Germany’s play, embodied by the sweet touches and breaks of creative zephyrs Toni Kroos, Mesut Ozil & Mario Gotze. But greatness in football cannot be bestowed until silverware follows quicksilver movement. Only now can this group join the pantheon of football greats.
Before the final match kickoff, a ceremony took place where President Vladimir Putin received a certificate officially passing the World Cup hosting rights to Russia. And just like that, in the corridors of the Maricana, the greatest show on earth moved from one end of the globe to another. From the beaches & sun of Rio to the snow and cold of St Petersburg. From the cocktails of the Copacabana to the vodka of Volgograd. Next stop Moscow.

The Son-of Moyo awards:
Best Player – Javier Mascherano
Young Player – James Rodriguez
Biggest Surprise – Costa Rica’s run to the QF
Moemish/Disappointment – Suarez’s bite on another player
Champagne Moment – Miroslav Klose breakig the all-time goalscoring record
Best Goal – van Persie’s header vs Spain
Best Game – Germany vs Brazil
Interesting stat – the Brazil v Germany game broke the record for the most talked about sporting event on Twitter (35,6 million tweets) beating the 2014 Superbowl (24,9 million tweets).
The Winners

Survey results – Who’s supporting who at the World Cup!

So a week ago, I asked my Facebook friends which team they would be supporting during the 2014 World Cup. From past experiences, many people come out of hibernation at the end of a tournament claiming they have always supported the winning team. Because most of my friends are either Zimbabwean (country of birth) or South African (country of residence) – both not present at the tournament – the choices of support usually (not always) serve also as a prediction. I received a fair number of comments too. Admittedly it’s been a while since I wrote a blog. And there could be no better time to revive a neglected passion than the opening day of the World Cup. The World Cup is probably the biggest sporting event in the world, which can mean two things: there are so many subjects to write about but on the other hand, there are so many people out there writing something. This means, a piece must be unique (well every piece must be) to attract any sort of attention. One can write about anything from ‘The Return of football to its home’ to the protests surrounding the event, from my failed/futile attempts to go to Brazil to the incredible commercials surrounding the event. We could give facts & figures, but that will be for another day. So I thought I would write a simple blog showing those random responses.

This is a summary of the 24 responses given: (number of votes – country)

9 – Germany

5 – Brazil

4 – England, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Nigeria

3- Spain, Cameroon

2 – France, Holland, Portugal

1 – Argentina

That’s 24 responses and the percentages are as follows:

37.5 % – Germany

21% – Brazil

16% – England, CIV, Ghana, Nigeria

12.5% – Spain, Cameroon

8% – France, Holland, Portugal

4% – Argentina

That means a whopping 37% of my (responsive) friends will be backing Germany to take this, while 21% think Brazil will do it on their home turf. There are many African loyalists (16% who back Ivory Coast, Ghana & Nigeria to succeed (whatever that success may mean. Surprisingly, only 8% are backing France, Holland & Ronaldo’s Portugal and just 4% with Messi’s Albicelestes (sky blue and whites). Enjoy the games guys..

Image