Uganda has never made it to the World Cup though in the last qualifier we came so close but yet so far as usual failing at the last huddle though for the fans, the zeal with which they back the lads has never fazed and they have always given their un conditional love and support.
Uganda failed to make it through group E of the qualifiers after a 0-0 draw against Black Stars of Ghana. The two consequently failed to make it after Egypt went through by beating Congo Brazaville.
This left the fans with no choice but to follow the World Cup as football fans by supporting other teams besides the African teams which usually happens for solidarity reasons.
However after the poor showing of the African teams at the group stage where all five of Africa’s representatives – Egypt, Senegal, Morocco, Tunisia and Nigeria – crushed out of the ongoing 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia the fans had to look elsewhere as none of their ‘home teams’ made the knock out stages with a string of disappointing displays in their respective groups.
So at this stage the best bet was on France dubbed ‘the African team’ in Europe because of the fact that the French national team comprises 15 players with direct African roots.
Ugandans just like many other African soccer fans continued following the competition with a certain measure of national or continental pride as they supported France the only ‘African Team’ left at the World Cup with about a dozen stars featuring at the Semi-final win against Belgium yesterday.
FRANCE FOR AFRICA
Of the 23-man squared for the Les Bleus, the standout French player in Russia happens to be 19-year-old Kylian Mbappe who is of Cameroonian and Algerian descent. Didier Deschamps’ side had at least five players who would have been eligible to represent African nations by birth or via their parents in each of their starting line-ups at this year’s World Cup.
Three players in the France squad, namely N’Golo Kante, Djibril Sidibe and Ousmane Dembele, would have been eligible to play for Mali, while Steve Mandanda, Steven Nzonzi and Prisnel Kimpembe would have qualified to wear the DR Congo shirt.
Kylian Mbappe and Samuel Umtiti have Cameroonian roots, while Paul Pogba’s family comes from Guinea. Nabil Fekir (Algeria), Blaise Matuidi (Angola), Adil Rami (Morocco), Thomas Lemar (Nigeria), Benjamin Mendy (Senegal) and Corentin Tolisso (Togo) all have African roots as well.
So now that France has made it to this year’s final, is it going to win it for Africa?
THE AFRICAN CONTINGENT
- Presnel Kimpembe – DR Congo
Kimpembe was born in France, but his father is Congolese.
- Samuel Umtiti
Born in Cameroon and Roger Milla even tried to get him to play for Cameroon.
- Paul Pogba
Born in France to two Guinean parents.
- Kylian Mbappé
Born in France to a Cameroonian father and Algerian mother.
- Ousmane Dembélé
Born in France. His mother is French, but of Mauritanian and Senegalese descent, while his father is from Mali.
- Corentin Tolisso
Born in France, but has connections to Togo through his parents. In 2016, Togo manager Claude Le Roy tried to get him to play for the African side, but Tolisso declined.
- N’Golo Kanté
Born in France, both his parents are from Mali. Kanté was approached by Mali ahead of the 2015 African Cup of Nations having not played for France in any of their age group teams. But he said no.
- Blaise Matuidi
Born in France to an Angolan father and Congolese mother.
- Steven Nzonzi
Born in France with Congolese parental heritage. He declined playing for Congo twice
- Steve Mandanda
Born in the DRC and moved to France when he was a teenager.
- Adil Rami
Born on the French island of Corsica to Moroccan parents.
- Nabil Fekir
Born in France to Algerian Parents was even named in Algeria’s squad for friendlies against Oman and Qatar in March 2015. However, he withdrew to take part in the French squad for friendlies against Brazil and Denmark.
- Djibril Sidibé
He has links to Mali, but was born in France.
- Benjamin Mendy
Born in France to Senegalese parents but decided to represent France and made his senior debut in March 2017.