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French World Cup victors show triumph of diversity: Obama


Johannesburg (AFP) – Former US president Barack Obama on Tuesday singled out the African heritage of many players in France’s World Cup-winning football team in a speech paying tribute to Nelson Mandela.

Speaking in Johannesburg to mark 100 years since Mandela’s birth, Obama said that embracing diversity “delivers practical benefits since it ensures that a society can draw upon the energy and skills of all… people.”

“And if you doubt that, just ask the French football team that just won the World Cup — because not all these folks look like Gauls to me, they are French, they are French,” he stressed with a smile.

France beat Croatia 4-2 in Sunday’s final in Moscow, with a team featuring many players of African heritage.

Of the 23 players in the French squad, around two-thirds are of Arab or African descent.

Two of France’s goalscorers against Croatia have African roots: Paul Pogba’s parents are from Guinea while Kylian Mbappe’s parents are Cameroonian and Algerian.

Of the players who started in the final, Samuel Umtiti was born in Cameroon, Blaise Matuidi’s parents are Angolan and Congolese, N’Golo Kante’s parents are Malian while Raphael Varane’s father is from the Caribbean island of Martinique.

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4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. Mintas Lanxor

    July 19, 2018 at 2:57 pm

    If Deschamps had started Fekir instead of the feckless Giroud in every game, France would’ve scored twice as many goals.

  2. jason

    July 18, 2018 at 11:12 am

    Oh puullease.. You are going to judge the state of a whole nation based on the performance of the soccer team. Paris is in a horrible condition right now.

  3. Andre

    July 18, 2018 at 9:48 am

    How many games did Fekir start? Do you want them to list everyone?

  4. Kevin Dos Santos

    July 17, 2018 at 5:56 pm

    They are not the only ones in the team from diverse backgrounds. Fekir etc or is this story more about black players

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