June 22, 2024


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World cup 2022: Here are 11 players of African descent making waves in foreign teams

Over 50 players of African descent are spread across 11 teams – excluding sides from the continent – that are competing in Qatar.

By Joel Omoto, bird Story Agency

Breel Embolo

Embolo recently made headlines when he scored against his country of birth as Switzerland beat Cameroon 1-0 in their opening match.

The 25-year-old Monaco striker was born in Yaounde before his mother relocated with him to France when he was five. Embolo’s mother met her future husband, a Swiss national, in France, and the family moved to Basel, Switzerland.

Embolo received Swiss citizenship in December 2014 and, having been eligible to play for Cameroon, opted for Switzerland, making his debut in March 2015. His goal against Cameroon was his 12th for Switzerland in 60 caps. Qatar is his second World Cup appearance after Russia four years ago.

Mohammed Muntari

Muntari netted Qatar’s first-ever World Cup goal when he headed in against Senegal as the hosts lost 3-1 to Senegal in their second match.

Born in Kumasi, Ghana, Muntari is a naturalised Qatari who moved to the middle eastern nation in 2012. The striker was naturalised to play for Qatar in 2014 and made his debut in December of that year in a friendly against Estonia.

Almoez Ali

Born in Sudan, Ali’s mother moved to Qatar when he was a child, and he has represented the Word Cup hosts since December 2013. The 26-year-old is Qatar’s first-choice striker and is his country’s joint all-time top scorer, having scored 42 goals in 86 games.

Ansu Fati

Real name Anssumane “Ansu” Fati Vieira, the 20-year-old Barcelona forward was born in Guinea-Bissau but chose to represent Spain after gaining citizenship. He moved to Seville with his family at the age of six.

His father, Bori Fati, is an ex-footballer who moved to Spain after getting a job as a driver following struggles with football in the lower leagues in Portugal.

Alphonso Davies

The poster boy for Canada at this World Cup, Davies scored his country’s only goal in their 4-1 loss to Croatia as they exited the tournament after two straight losses.

The Bayern Munich left-back was born to Liberian parents in Buduburam, a refugee camp in Ghana, but they fled the Civil War in 2005 and settled in Edmonton.

Davies relocated to Vancouver aged 15 to join the Whitecaps FC Residency programme and received Canadian citizenship in 2017.

Ismael Kone

Another African-born star in the Canadian team, Kone, was born in Ivory Coast. The 20-year-old was eligible to play for the West African nation but is representing Canada, having moved to the country with his parents aged seven.

Youssoufa Moukoko

Until just days before the World Cup, there were hopes that the 17-year-old Yaounde-born ‘wonderkid’ would represent Cameroon in Qatar, but Germany stole him under their noses when he was included in their World Cup squad.

Moukoko moved to Germany when he was ten and has emerged as one of the world’s top talents after getting into the Borussia Dortmund senior team at just 16.

Garang Kuol

Recently signed by Premier League club Newcastle United, the 18-year-old might not be on the big stage had his parents not moved with him to Australia to escape the war in Sudan.

He was selected to the Australia squad despite not starting a game for his current club Central Coast Mariners, showing how highly rated he is.

Steve Mandanda

The France second-choice goalkeeper was born in Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of the Congo but moved with his family to France when he was two years old. He practised boxing before joining the local team ALM Evreux aged nine.

The 37-year-old Marseille goalkeeper has made 34 appearances for France and was part of the 2018 squad that won the World Cup in Russia. The 2022 tournament is his third World Cup after also featuring in the 2010 edition.

Eduardo Camavinga

The 20-year-old Real Madrid midfielder is just getting started, having been selected for his first World Cup, but is highly rated.

Camavinga was born in a refugee camp in Cabinda, Angola, to Congolese parents before his family moved to France when he was two. He acquired French citizenship in November 2019 and, a few days later, was selected for the France Under-19 squad.

He received his first senior call-up in August 2020, becoming the youngest player to earn such a feat since Rene Gerard in 1932, who was only 17 years, nine months and 17 days old, and has since earned four caps for Les Bleus.

Danilo Pereira

The 31-year-old Paris Saint-Germain midfielder, who can also play as a centre-back, was born in Guinea-Bissau before his family moved to Portugal when he was five.

He honed his skills at three Lisbon-based clubs three clubs, finishing his development with Benfica and representing Portugal at the youth level before making his senior international debut in 2015.

Danilo was part of the squads that won UEFA Euro 2016 and the 2019 UEFA Nations League Finals on home soil, but Qatar 2022 is his first World Cup, having amassed 64 caps for his country.


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