Soccer / umtiti

14 Champions with African Roots
More than a half of the French team comes from Africa or at least has African roots. Griezmann and Mbappe’s France has a lot in common with the France that won the first title at their own World Cup in 1998. But they won not only because of the final result, but also thanks to the roots of their footballers. In the team commanded by Zinedine Zidane only 8 players among 22 players had a “pure” French origin. The rest of them had African, Armenian, Argentinian, even Basque (in case of Bixente Lizarazu) roots. There were even players from Guadeloupe. The team that was proclaimed the World Cup champions in Russia has 14 out of 23 players who come from Africa or have African roots. It’s more than a half. They are an example of the 21th century France, a society born because of colonialism and created by various levels of society. Such a diverse team with aspirations was united by football in 1998. The president of the Republic, Jacques Chirac, called Deschamps, Thuram, Laurent Blanc and their team’s winning a French victory of “tricolour and multicolour”, because the team united the whole country, what was reflected in ample diversity of the players. The team led by Kylian Mbappe also brought this unity to the World Cup, which was conquered by African talent. From Bottom to Top Multiculturality of Didier Deschamps’ squad mainly comes from Africa. Many of his players were born on the African land or are naturalized French, like in case of Umtiti. The others, like Dembele, were born and raised in France, but they have African roots. Adil Rami has a Moroccan origin, Nabil Fekir — Algerian, Steve Mandanda was born in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Blaise Matuidi has Angolan roots, Benjamin Mendy and Djibril Sidibe are from Senegal, Presnel Kimpembe is from the Congo, Kylian Mbappe has Cameroonian and Algerian roots, Corentin Tolisso is from Togo, N'Golo Kante is from Mali and Paul Pogba is from Guinea. They are all sons of emigrants, who arrived in France. They have brought the joy to the continent they come from, because their participation in the World Cup hasn’t been residual. On the contrary, in fact, five World Cup winners that were in the starting XI have African roots (Umtiti, Mbappe, Pogba, Kante, Matuidi) and two out of four were a work of Deschamps’ talent. Thanking to his third goal Pogba was responsible for raising the whole country on top along with Mbappe with his memorable prowess. The championship won by France was celebrated in the whole of Africa. From Bottom to World Top The majority of the footballers that were convened in the French team don’t represent only their African descendance, but also a living image of a social lift for French peripheries. They owe their football to the outskirts of Paris, the arena for disturbances and frustrations, from where the Republic has seen its salvation to come. Mbappe is the most obvious example. A big pledge for this World Cup is a product of Parisian outskirts, the starkest and purest outskirts on the French territory. The PSG forward was born in 1998, in the year when Zidane and his team united the country to celebrate their first World Cup title, in Bondy. It’s a city of 52,000 inhabitants located 12 kilometres away from the centre of Paris. His father has a Cameroonian origin and his mother is Algerian. He grew up using Bondy´s facilities, where the football turned into a way to escape from the suburbs. It’s not surprising that up to 16 professional footballers, among which were Matuidi, Pogba, Kante and Mbappe, ran away from these outskirts, which lack opportunities. Their triumph in Russia has been the triumph of multicultural France, the union that returns home. Source: El Periódico