The major reason many of us supported Senegal against Egypt was the same we didn’t want Cameroon to win Egypt at the semi-final match. Many football followers knew it would be easier for Senegal to beat Egypt at the final match than beat Cameroon at their home, the reason being that most African football fans wanted something new – a country that never lifted the AFCON trophy to win it this time. However, those two countries – Egypt and Cameroon have dominated the trophy for too long, 7 times and 5 times respectively.
In the real spirit of competition and retaining the excitement, it is proper that others also have a feel of the trophy and AFCON victory. That’s the competition for AFCON.
When it becomes so predictable that Egypt and Cameroon will always win, then it becomes boring. Again, of the last four countries at the 2021 AFCON, Egypt and Cameroon had European coaches, while Senegal and Burkina Faso had African coaches and we deliberately rooted for the African coaches to win so as boost the confidence of other Africans, and prove wrong the fixation of most African countries, including Nigeria, for a foreign coach.
We argue that it is not proper that Africa should remain students of football forever. It does not add up that while Africa has a great number of world-class footballers, the same Africa hasn’t commensurate representation in the coaching cadre. This has nothing to do with race, but they need to develop the self. All we need do is convert many of the great players to coaches, which the likes of Mahmoud El-Ghouhary of Egypt, legendary Stephen Keshi of Nigeria, and lately, Aliou Cisse of Senegal have proved doable. El-Ghouhary and Keshi won the AFCON as players and coaches, while Cisse captained Senegal to the 2002 final match without winning, but won on Sunday as a coach.
Africa needs to grow. It doesn’t dignify that of 24 African countries at the AFCON, up to about 18 came with non-African coaches. In 2010 at South Africa, a country that never won the World Cup before, Spain, pulled the magic and the world was happy and excited as that victory killed the monotony of the past. Even FIFA was loved that because that is the competition in the tournament.
However, we totally disagree with those arguing that Egypt or North Africa is not original Africa. That’s offensive reasoning. If you would insist on that, then don’t complain that the U.S and some European countries treat their black citizens like outcasts. The Berbers of North Africa that supplanted the black Nubians, the first settlers in the space, have lived so long in Africa that they are 100% Africans and don’t deserve any discrimination based on their race and colour. Moreover, the African landmass stands alone from the rest of the continents, so geographically, Africa is marked out from the rest of the world.
All of us within that circumscription are fully and equally Africans. Let’s not forget that all races that live at the borderline or culture fault lines and fringes have mixed races and a blend of races due to intermarriages, the reason our North African brothers and sisters look physically different. So, fair-skinned, and curly-haired north Africans are purely and completely Africans.
Today, the world has grown so mature and diverse that you don’t use races to detect nationality. Wherever you live should be your place and you shall not be treated as an outsider. All African brothers and sisters are Africans, irrespective of their races and colours. In eastern and southern Africa, there are some millions of whites, Indians, and other Asians that are native citizens and they remain Africans just as Mario Balotteli, Ngolo Kante, Paul Pogba, Zinedine Zidane, Eric Abidal, David Olatokunbo Alaba, Marcus Rashford, Ashley Cole, Raheem Sterling and many more others are Europeans.