France’s ‘African Union’ team at the World Cup
The dream to play the World Cup for many African nations is like a mirage – far from coming true.
Their consolation however, is in their nationals who are playing for other countries at the World’s most popular sporting showpiece.
ELLY KYEYUNE looks at the African players that make up the French national team at the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
He was born in Yaoundé, the capital of Cameroon and refused to play for the Cameroon national soccer team though he was approached to do so.
Though born in France, and having represented the nation at various youth levels, including the U21 side with whom he was the captain, Tolisso was also eligible to represent Togo through his paternal lineage. In 2016, Togo manager Claude Le Roy revealed that he would try to convince Tolisso to represent the nation instead of France. Tolisso had previously acknowledged his ties to Togo but was loyal to France, stating that “I was born here and grew up here.
Born to Malian parents, 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. Kanté declined on the basis that he was still trying to establish himself in Ligue 1
Paul Labile Pogba
Pogba was born in Lagny-sur-Marne, Seine-et-Marne, to Guinean parents.
Dembélé was born in Vernon, Eure, in Normandy. His mother is French of Mauritanian and Senegalese descent, while his father is from Mali.
Kylian Mbappé Lottin
Mbappé was born in Paris. His father Wilfried hails from Cameroon and, as well as being his agent, is a football coach, while his Algerian mother Fayza is a former handball player.
Fekir was named in his ancestral 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.
Matuidi was born in Toulouse, to an Angolan father, Faria Rivelino, and a Congolese mother, Élise. Rivelino emigrated to France at a young age.
Steven N’Kemboanza Mike Nzonzi
Born in, France, to Congolese father and French mother. In January 2011 he was called up to the national football team of the DR Congo due to his origins but he did not want to commit to the international team due to structural problems at the administrative level.