By Dak Buoth Riek Gaag
18 July, 2014
I congratulate the German players for their hard fought victory in Brazil. They had shown mature, disciplined, modern and progressive football from the beginning to the final whistle. The constant presence of their leader Her Excellency Chancellor Angela Merkel in all the games really bolstered the courage they inserted. Football, soccer or Khuure as it is called in my native language is a fascinating game enjoyed by people from all walks of life across the globe. The players too are equally adored by people from disciplines notwithstanding their nationalities.
I readily recall those days when I was in my rural village in South Sudan, many young Africans would name themselves after iconic football players like David Beckham, Pele, Philip Lahm, Nkwankou Kanu, Del Piero, George Weah, Zinedine Zidane, Paul Scholes, Edgar Davids etc. As we speak I am certain children have already been named Mario Goetze, Germany’s only goal scorer in the recent final.
The love for football is inherent and automatic. It is a game played for leisure as well as for a career. It is unifying in nature which is why you find in all the soccer playing nations, especially in developing nations, armed conflicts have reduced. Football promotes unprecedented peaceful coexistence among people of different backgrounds.
In the just concluded World Cup several memorable things that deserve mention happened. One being the unprecedented hospitality shown by the Brazilian people. The way in which they conducted themselves during and after the games has proved beyond reasonable doubt that football is part and parcel of their mainstream society. The behaviour portrayed by their fans has shamed some countries who claim to be football giants yet continue to practice characters that are repugnant to basic football norms.
Second is the professionalism exercised by FIFA itself. It was indeed a fair game; thumbs up to Sep Blatter, the President, he won our trust and confidence. Third, which I must admit appraisingly was the most memorable and distinctive presence of all persons in the tournament. It was a “multi-coloured” World Cup. It really made the tournment look good and it amazed me.
Interestingly, when we saw the Boateng brothers (Kevin Prince Boateng opting to play for Ghana while his brother Jerome Boateng chose to play for Germany and ultimately won the final) it was really wonderful. There was a huge and significant presence of players of African descent in almost every team that participated in the competition; big teams like Netherlands, Brazil, England, Germany, Belgium, France, Portugal etc. It’s immaterial to dig into the background of those players or question the politics behind their nationality. The fact is, it’s worth noticing.
Now it is all over we have to wait patiently for the next World Cup in 2018. Viva Germany! Viva football! Viva one people, viva one world!
About the author:
Dak is currently studying Law at the Presbyterian University, Nairobi. He is also an active member of the Congress of South Sudanese Patriots for Peace & Reconciliation.
NB. The photo is courtesy of Reuters
After graduating from the University of Sussex in 2009 with a BA in International Development Kate was employed by Gua Africa to manage the running of the charity on a full-time basis.