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COVID-19, Help African Soccer Get Its Groove Back

THULAGANYO JANKIE
The biggest con since Bishop Abel Muzorewa was puppeted into Zimbabwe’s presidency as a symbol of democracy and the emancipation of blacks is the participation of African teams at the world cup.

You see, African teams care more about returning to Africa after three games than proceeding to the next round. The reason is because the actual players that represent Africa don’t really stay here and are actually pseudo-citizens of Europe.

The world cup presents a perfect opportunity for them to return to Africa and enjoy the local dishes (both types) and do a hatchet job of some very tight romances. They cannot do that during the course of the season without angering their coaches and being threatened with reprisals.

There was a time when African teams were recognisable to the world. They had a distinct look about them and you could see a lot of effort had gone into achieving this. They were very impressive and when they huddled together for pre-match prayers, it looked like some prankster had thrown Joseph’s Technicolor coat on top of their heads.

There’d be a green head, a pink head, an orange head, a blue head and you’d be forgiven to think this was some sort of colour run event. Throughout my life I’d never seen pink hair and I swear I had dated some outlandish girls but never one with pink hair. In this case these were men and they had come to play football. Well, we were sold that lie. We cheered them on with the hope they would at least get on with the business of playing football. They didn’t, they pranced around like peacocks - until their three games were over.

Somehow they seemed to view the white spherical thing as incidental and not the real purpose of the game. They came back to Africa to a hero’s welcome no matter how strange that may sound and proceeded to attack the local girls. And when the African factory mill stopped churning out colourful hair - perhaps after choking from a competitive Chinese factory- this was abandoned.

African soccer must redefine itself again. We need to

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find a new style, a new identity. And this has nothing to do with playing soccer to win a tournament. That is too difficult. I am thinking here of painted faces perhaps, shorts with squirrel tales, playing with felt hats. That would really get us back on that recognition pedestal and perhaps, just perhaps, there will be awards for eccentricity and finally Africa gets onto that elusive a podium.

I am pretty sure most of the wars, diseases, corruption and all the other issues that continue to plague the African continent are a direct result of African teams tepid performances at the world cup.

COVID-19 might well provide a sort of reprieve and save Africa the usual embarrassment that visits the continent every four years. If this pandemic keeps at this rate it might well take a good three years to contain. That means it could well stretch right into 2022, a world cup year and hopefully the spectacle will be cancelled. Hopefully, it won’t rapture its pods and birth COVID-22. Cancellation means the soccer commentators will have a breather in terms of coining up adjectives to describe African team’s performances.

No matter how strange this may seem the custodians of African football dread the world cup. Don’t be fooled by the VIP suites where they sit during these games. It is mighty hard to push expensive whisky down your throat when your football team is leaking goals like a sieve and other VIPs are celebrating just two metres away. 

And as the world hopes the pandemic peters off soon, you can be sure the African soccer leadership hopes it sustains long enough for the world cup to be cancelled. They are crossing their fingers and toes.

But then again there is Newton’s 17th Law of Competitions: A global competition will take place whether there is a pandemic, inclement weather or bumbling African teams!  (For comments, feedback and insults email  inkspills1969@gmail.com)



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