It's about Africa's World Cup

2009-06-27 00:00

WHEN the president of the Federation of International Football Association (Fifa), Sepp Blatter, announced that South Africa would be hosting the first Soccer World Cup on the African continent in the history of the global game, Africans were bracing themselves for a tournament, the likes of which the world has never seen.

European nations have dominated the world football governing body in many respects and this is evident in the fact that European nationals make up half of the number of countries that qualify for any World Cup finals, let alone what goes on in the decision-making process.

The game of football is a game of billions that has been controlled by a handful of nations from the continents of Africa, Asia, Australasia/Oceanic region and North America. Nations from the south have participated just to add to the numbers, as opposed to making a meaningful contribution.

The European nationals have always dictated the terms of how the game should be played.

When some of the teams and commentators, most of whom are from Europe, complained about the vuvuzela and the monotonous noise it makes, it felt like the recolonisation of Africa. What had they not understood about the 2010 Soccer World Cup being “Africa’s World Cup”?

I could not help but shake my head when one of the commentators commented that what is most interesting about this “monotonous instrument” called the vuvuzela is that “they actually play it throughout the game and they can dance too. They have rhythm.”

It sounded like Fifa member nations had come to play a tournament in the jungle and Spain’s Xabi, who plays for F. C. Barcelona, also complained about how the noise interfered with their concentration during the game.

What? Is it more disturbing than the racist monkey noises made by Barcelona and other Spanish fans when Cameroonian striker Samuel E’to, who happens to also play for Barca, touches the ball or even scores?

I am yet to hear some of these superstars speak out against pertinent issues affecting the global game such as racism, something which is alive and well.

I have never heard them speaking out against how the playing fields should be levelled in terms of remuneration between European players and African players. The disparities are there gaping at us but they want to dictate how fans should support their teams.

Confetti is the name of the fans’ game in South America, where games are normally played with all sorts of paper littered over the field, but clearly they do not know this as it is too dangerous for them to play on that continent hence most, if not all, friendly games are played in Europe against South American sides. Unlike the English, we are not going to clap each time the ball goes out of touch and fold our hands when it goes back into the field of play. We are going to blow hard on our vuvuzelas through 2010 and beyond. This time around, we are not going to stand by and take kindly to the recolonisation of Africa.

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