Mon | Feb 6, 2023

Qatar, the African World Cup, kinda?

Published:Thursday | December 1, 2022 | 12:10 AMOrane Buchanan/Staff Reporter
Germany’s Jamal Musiala.
Germany’s Jamal Musiala.

THE CONTINENT of Africa has five countries participating in the ongoing FIFA World Cup in Qatar (Senegal, Cameroon, Morocco, Ghana and Tunisia) and while all of them have performed creditably with Tunisia, the African champions through to the round...

THE CONTINENT of Africa has five countries participating in the ongoing FIFA World Cup in Qatar (Senegal, Cameroon, Morocco, Ghana and Tunisia) and while all of them have performed creditably with Tunisia, the African champions through to the round of 16, this isn’t the end of the influence of the continent.

Interestingly, a great many of the 32 nations field at least one player of African descent.

From host nation Qatar to Concacaf winners Canada, and defending champions France, the African continent has outsourced its talent.

The most staggering squad complement of players with African descent comes from the Didier Deschamp-coached French team.

France has all of 15 players in the squad who could have played for countries in Africa.

Karim Benzema, who had to pull out of the World Cup because of injury, has Algerian roots, while Kylian Mbappe, at one point, could have turned out for Cameroon. Eduardo Camavinga, who started yesterday against Tunisia, has Angolan connections.

There is also Jules Kounde (Benin), Aurelien Tchouameni (Cameroon), William Saliba (Cameroon), Dayot Upamecano (Guinea-Bissau), Ibrahima Konate (Mali), Youssouf Fofana (Mali), Mattea Guendouzi (Morocco), Steve Mandanda (DR Congo), Randal Kolo Muani (DR Congo), Axel Disasi (DR Congo) and Ousmane Dembele (Senegal) who all contribute to France’s powerful squad.

Four-time World Cup winners Germany (1954, 1974, 1990, 2014) ranks second on the list with a total of seven of their players in the squad from the African Continent.

In fact, Jamal Musiala, who is seen as one of the brightest young talents in the Germany squad, has Nigerian connections. The African connections are completed with Thilo Kehrer (Burundi), Armel Bella-Kotchap (Cameroon), Youssofo Moukoko (Cameroon), Serge Gnabry (Ivory Coast), Leroy Sane (Senegal), and their rock at the back, Antonio Rudiger (Sierre Leone).

The country with the most players from a single African country is Belgium, who have four players from the Democratic Republic of Congo in their ranks.

The Belgians boast Jeremy Doku (Ghana), Lois Openda (DR Congo), Romelu Lukaku (DR Congo), Youri Tielemans (DR Congo), Michy Batshuayi (DR Congo), and Amadou Onana (Senegal).

The Three Lions of England have become a more cosmopolitan side in recent times and have Bukayo Saka, who has Nigerian connections, among their ranks.

But the list of countries with African ‘imports’, for want of a better word, is much more extensive than the above, making this World Cup, hosted in Qatar, maybe a truly African experience.

orane.buchanan@gleanerjm.com

Countries with players of African heritage

France

Karim Benzema (Algeria), Kylian Mbappe (Cameroon), Eduardo Camavinga (Angola), Jules Kounde (Benin), Aurelien Tchouameni (Cameroon), William Saliba (Cameroon), Dayot Upamecano (Guinea-Bissau), Ibrahima Konate (Mali), Youssouf Fofana (Mali), Mattea Guendouzi (Morocco), Steve Mandanda (DR Congo), Randal Kolo Muani (DR Congo), Axel Disasi (DR Congo), Ousmane Dembele (Senegal).

Germany

Thilo Kehrer (Burundi), Armel Bella-Kotchap (Cameroon), Youssofo Moukoko (Cameroon), Serge Gnabry (Ivory Coast), Jamal Musiala (Nigeria), Leroy Sane (Senegal), Antonio Rudiger (Sierre Leone).

Belgium- Jeremy Doku (Ghana), Lois Openda (DR Congo), Romelu Lukaku (DR Congo), Youri Tielemans (DR Congo), Michy Batshuayi (DR Congo), Amadou Onana (Senegal).

Qatar

Karim Boudiaf (Morocco), Boualem Khoukhi (Algeria)

Wales

Ben Cabango (Angola), Ethan Ampadu (Ghana), Sorba Thomas (Sierre Leone)

USA

Yunus Musah (Ghana), Haji Wright (Liberia), Timothy Weah (Liberia)

Australia

Keanu Baccus (South Africa), Garang Kuol (South Sudan), Awer Mabil (South Sudan)

Denmark

Alexander Bah (Zambia), Yussef Poulsen (Tanzania)

Spain

Nico Williams (Ghana), Ansu Fati (Guinea- Bissau), Alejandro Balde (Guinea)

Canada

Ismael Kone (Ivory Coast), Richie Laryea (Ghana), Alphonso Davies (Liberia), Ike Ugbo (Nigeria), Sam Adebugbe (Nigeria)

Switzerland

Breel Embolo (Cameroon), Edmilson Fernandez (Cape Verde), Manuel Akanji (Nigeria), Noah Okafor (Nigeria), Djibril Snow (Senegal), Denis Zakaria (South Sudan)

Portugal

Nuno Mendes (Angola), William Carvalho (Angola), Joao Mario (Angola), Raphael Leao (Angola), Danilo Pereira (Guinea-Bissau).

England

Bukayo Saka (Nigeria)