Jose Mourinho during the match: Credit Reuters Photographer Alberto Lingria
By The African Exponent
Legendary football manager Jose Mourinho has called on the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) to prevent African players from representing other countries.
The Portuguese made the charge during a recent interview where he claimed that the international football governing body was encouraging the stealing of Africa’s World Cup hopes. He said the continent could not equally compete for international honours because Western countries have snatched her best players.
He opined that if African players were only allowed to play for their countries of origin, Africa would have won the World Cup by now. Do you agree with the ‘Special One’ on this?
Mourinho has won 26 major club trophies in his career and recently lifted the UEFA Conference League Cup with AS Roma. The victory made him the only coach in football history to have won all three UEFA international tournaments.
The AS Roma boss believes that until African players only represent their homelands, no country in the continent will ever lift the World Cup.
“I want the world to realize that Africa is equal to everyone, Africans are good, they have the ability to win any game, only because most of their players are scattered all over the world playing for countries that are beyond their homelands.
“FIFA must stop them from playing European countries it’s unfair for France, England and other countries to win a world cup with a team full of African players at the expense of African countries, they should stop shunning their countries of origin,” he said.
His comments have received huge commendations from Africans in the continent and the diaspora. However, many critics also claim that the Portuguese national is doing what African leaders should have done a long time ago.
Many Africans are only left to wonder about Africa’s prospects if African football stars played for their homelands. For example, they believe that the Democratic Republic of Congo would have been a different team if Belgian forward Romelu Lukaku had played for them.
Mousa Dembélé would have been playing for Mali, and Paul Pogba for Guinea. Marouane Fellaini would have played for Morocco. N’Golo Kanté would have been a Malian footballer, and Kylian Mbappé would have played for his mother’s country – Algeria, or his father’s homeland of Cameroon.
Blaise Matuidi would have played for Angola, Samuel Umtiti for Cameroon, and Bukayo Saka for Nigeria.
The list is endless, and these African players were all eligible to play for their African homelands but never did. Instead, they have continued to carry their adopted countries to glory at every international competition.
Currently, 15 out of the total 23 players in the France national team are all Africans – only eight players do not have direct African roots there. Belgium had nine out of 23. In 2021, six of the players who won the FIFA Under-20s World Cup were Nigerians.
You will recall that this is not the first time that Jose Mourinho is asking why Africans represent other countries in international competitions.
In 2020, the Portuguese manager questioned the intention of FIFA in granting permission for footballers from Africa to represent foreign countries.
Some critics, however, do not support Jose Mourinho’s claims. According to them, the problem with African football and sports, in general, is not in the deficiency of talents.
They claim that it is a result of poor management, and were these star players had opted for their homelands, they won’t have achieved their full potential.