Alot of water has run under the bridge since the conclusive whistle blew on the final match of the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations.

It is important to throw a post factum look at the shenanigans of European soccer honchos before the start whistle blew on the first match.

These mandarins went out of their way to try and derail an important tournament on the African football calendar.
European views painted a picture of Africa as a badgered and weak continent. This is a strongly entrenched view in most sections of the European media and football bureaucracy. This disconcerting trend is welded at the hip with the racist treatment of African players in Europe.

The success of the tournament was a slap in the faces of Europeans who view Africans as brainless creatures who drag their knuckles in the jungles of the continent.

In appreciating the success of AFCON 2021, we must note that Africa’s football bosses grew a steely pair and demanded that the competition be respected, especially by European clubs.

Last November, Liverpool coach, Jurgen Klopp blurted: “I’ve heard that so often that there’s no international break until March. In January, there’s a little tournament in Africa, I just want to say, and I think Asia is playing games, too – South America as well, great, can’t wait.”

Senegal national football coach, Aliou Cisse, fumed: “Who does he think he is? I manage Senegal and my players play for Klopp at Liverpool. I respect Liverpool but not Klopp who undermines African football events. He is where he is today because of African footballers. He was losing every final until Salah, Mane, Matip came to his rescue to win his first-ever major European final. Today, he has the guts to call AFCON a little tournament.”

A number of European naysayers relentlessly pressed on with tales of doom and gloom about the AFCON 2021.
European Club Association (ECA) wrote to FIFA conveying concerns about the ‘potential endangerment of Europe-based players of African descent participating in the AFCON.’

The Sun predicted: “But the current Covid-19 situation – including the recent spread of the Omicron variant – has left the competition in tatters, in danger of being postponed for a THIRD time.”
A headline in the Daily Mail screamed: AFCON: Premier League stars warned they could be in danger – even mascot wears bullet-proof vest.

The president of Cameroon’s FA, former Barcelona, Everton and Chelsea striker Samuel Eto’o asked why European clubs and media were mentioning all these concerns over the tournament.

Speaking to French television, Canal+, Eto’o asked: “If the Euros took place in the middle of the pandemic, with full stadiums in several cities in Europe and there was no problem, why wouldn’t the AFCON be played in Cameroon? Or are you trying to say that like we’ve always been treated, we Africans aren’t worth anything so we have to put up with it?”

Given these hardened attitudes toward Africans, why would we expect the likes of Pitso Mosimane to have a fair shot at coaching in Europe?
An article published in the is apt: “Player Raheem Sterling and academic Paul Campbell have pointed to the structural inequalities that prevent former black players from embarking on coaching or administrative positions in European football. Indeed, if black footballers account for 30% of the players in the English Premier League but only 1% of the managers, the structural exclusion of black players is obvious.”

Africa must focus on empowering its own. We must also disabuse African national teams from employing under-qualified European coaches.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *