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Paul Pogba celebrates after scoring against Portugal during a friendly. Photo: Ajith Kumar (via Flickr/Creative Commons)

France's Blackness

As French scholar Grégory Pierrot points out, "the black players of France are also black players for the entire black world."

The French National Football team has reached its third World Cup final in twenty years. And like when they won it all in 1998, and when they lost in memorable fashion in 2006, their racial makeup seems to be one of the main talking points surrounding them.

In 1998, when France also hosted the tournament, the diverse background of its key players—mainly that of the team's star, Zinedine Zidane, who was born in France to Algerian Berber parents—was used to both celebrate and lament the state of the country as a sort of "melting pot of cultures."

Those who celebrated a team packed with black, Caribbean and Arab players saw its success as proof that France could move forward from its colonial past and into a welcoming, inclusive idea of "Frenchness." Those voices that lamented the same team—mainly heralded by the far-right politician Jean-Marie Le Pen—saw it as a metaphor for fleeting French values, and the disappearance of the "pureness" (or "whiteness") they wanted for France.

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Photo via Senator Millicent Omanga Facebook Page

Twitter Reacts to Photo's of Kenyan MPs in Russia

Kenyan MPs in Russia say they traveled to watch the World Cup on official business, Kenyan's have called them out for wasting tax money.

Soccer is always political, but for many Kenyans the debate became less about the politics of supporting England and more about questioning the presence of Kenyan politicians in Russia following the semi-finals yesterday.

After Senator Millicent Omanga posted pictures of herself in Russia enjoying the game, people on social media were quick to ask the relevant questions. Who was paying for the plane tickets, hotels, and access to the games? Why exactly did these politicians need to be at the game? How many Kenyan politicians where in Russia?


The Kenyan Sports Minister Rashid Echesa told the BBC that just six MPs were authorized to travel so that they could better understand how to host international tournaments. It has been reported that 20 MP's have travelled to Russia for the games. Some of the MP's on the trip include Victor Munyaka, Wafula Wamunyinyi, Sylvanus Maritim, and Peter Kaluma (Homa Bay Town) according to Star Newspaper.

Senator Clerk Jeremiah Nyegenye was quoted by Star Newspaper as saying, "It is their responsibility to understand sports, how to host such international tournaments. This is not a holiday and it is too simplistic to look at it as a joyrider mission."

He added, "From where we stand, this is official business, only that it is happening in Russia. Had it been happening in Somalia or even Uasin Gishu county, we would still have a team there."

BBC reported that when traveling on official business, Kenyan MPs are entitled to daily allowances for expenses of around $1,000. It is unclear how many MP's are using state allowance and how many are paying for their trips themselves.


Twitter has been responding to these justifications asking why the "team" can't be an actual football team rather than Kenyan politicians enjoying like at the games. World Cup season always bring up questions about how athletes are supported on the continent, perhaps its time for politicians to consider supporting athletes as well as they support themselves.






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John Obi Mikel Learned His Father Had Been Abducted Just Hours Before Nigeria Faced Argentina

"I was told that they would shoot my dad instantly if I reported to the authorities or told anybody," recounts Nigeria's national team captain.

UPDATE:

John Obi Mikel has released a statement, thanking Nigerian police for their efforts in helping rescue his father, and informing supporters that his father has returned home, where he is now recuperating.

Continue for the full story:

Last Tuesday, as soccer fans gathered to watch Nigeria take on Argentina in what would be their final 2018 World Cup match, the Super Eagle's captain John Obi Mikel learned some harrowing news: his father, Pa Michael Obi, had been kidnapped as he headed to a funeral in Southeastern Nigeria.

As Kwesé ESPN reports, despite what he had just learned, Mikel went on to face Argentina, as he was told by kidnappers that his father would be killed if he were to alert authorities just four hours before kickoff. The kidnappers demanded N10 million ($28,000) for his father's safe return.

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