Cameroon hosts from this Sunday a tournament that, despite the stars in contention, the first world “despises” and treats as a “minor competition”
African football navigates on the waters of topic and ignorance, which are the same waters that carry the waste of undisguised contempt on the part of the first world. I play crazy and incoherent, because he is African. Physical footballers, because they are African. Loud and happy hobby, because she is African. Also violent, because she is African. This Sunday begins the African Cup of Nations with the match that faces in Yaoundé Cameroon, the host country, with Burkina faso. And Europe will continue to look askance, always downward. Pressing. Wondering why many of his best footballers, despite the glitter of the great tournaments in the West, flee in January to heed the call of Africa.
“We are facing the colonizing gene. Everything below the Straits is worse. It is something that we see from the very conception of the maps, where the West is placed above and part of Africa and South America below. Why not Do we make the map the other way around? Or is it even on the scales of the countries, where Africa is dwarfed to highlight the western part. That thought is there. But let’s look at this Africa Cup. It will be the goalkeeper with the least thrashed in the Spanish League, Yassine bounou (Morocco). The second least thrashed in the Premier, Edouard mendy (Senegal). The top scorer of this Champions, Sebastien haller (Ivory Coast). The top scorer in the Premier, Mohamed salah (Egypt). However, it seems to be a minor competition. “
Who speaks for THE WORLD is Alberto Edjogo-Owono Montalbán, former soccer player and now renowned analyst born and raised in Sabadell. He also did not resist the influence of “mother earth.” His mother, a Catalan nurse. His father, who came to Spain to study Law and Economics in Madrid, was born in Equatorial Guinea, the former Spanish colony that became one more province before its independence in 1968.
Alberto, at age 18 and while playing for Granollers, was required by the Equatorial Guinea federation. The idea was to promote the selection with the children of Guineans who played in Spain. “Until that moment, my contact with my African roots was based on a dish based on chicken with peanuts and cassava or the native music that my father played on the car stereo. But I had the opportunity to discover with my own eyes part of my origins “, writes Edjogo in his book Indomitable. African Soccer Notebooks (Panenka).
Something similar happened to Paul ganet, a 27-year-old Murcia player who will play his second Africa Cup with Equatorial Guinea. “I was born in Malaga, like my mother. My father is Guinean, from Malabo. He came to Madrid as a teenager to study at a religious school. He played soccer and ended up in Los Boliches, like Juanito. I was 20 years old, fresh out of the Málaga B, when Guinea called me for their national team. Morocco resigned to host the 2015 Africa Cup due to the fear of Ebola and, in a month and a half, Equatorial Guinea organized the tournament and mounted a team. I was 20 years old and I told myself that It was a good opportunity to represent my father’s country. I had never set foot in Africa before. “
Edjogo continues: “Frédéric Kanouté, the former Sevilla player, talks about the concept of the reverse path. Of the fate of the children of the diaspora, of the children of immigrants who have a debt to pay. My father had nine siblings, but the only one who came to Spain was him. I had the opportunity to have a good education and to build a career, something that the children of my uncles did not have. And that is pure chance. Life says it’s your turn, but not the rest. There is that feeling of giving something back. To do that reverse path. The responsibility to your people, to your people, is always in the African. “
“When I started playing, everything was very different. African players, normally, had no future. Now football is a way to get many families out of misery.” Cameroonian Tommy n’kono is a legend of world football. A pioneer. “When I arrived in Spain there was no African goalkeeper in a big European club. I was the first.” He won the African Ballon d’Or twice (1979 and 1982). And he won the Africa Cup in 1984. “Although I was only able to play the first phase. My federation and Espanyol did not agree and I had to go back to Barcelona to play the League. Then nobody protected the teams.”
N’Kono is 65 years old, but he refuses to let his hands lose contact with the gloves. He still wears them daily. They give him peace while advising the youngsters of Espanyol.
-Does Europe look down on Africa when it talks about football? Do you despise it?
-Yes, he despises her. He wants to command and decide when and how the Africa Cup should be played. It is a mistake not to give importance to the tournament. It should have the same treatment as the Eurocup or the America’s Cup. We must have respect for our continent.
N’Kono, of course, admits endemic problems: “African football has a lot of talent, but because of not having a good organization, it doesn’t get where it should.”
Edjogo nods. “Organizationally there are deficiencies. And problems that creep up. There is, for example, the butler syndrome. ‘The white man came to exploit my land, and now that I have a responsibility, I will be the one to fill my pocket.’ attack the way of managing resources by the indigenous ruler. It should be noted, as well as that strings are still being handled from a distance so that the president who is interested wins to continue exporting diamonds, wood, oil or whatever. “
Cameroon has only been able to vaccinate 2.5% of its population in the Covid era. Its president is Paul biya. He is 88 years old and has been in power for 40 years.
“Fortunately, the new generations do not have the poison of colonization. They begin to take off that yoke”, believes Edjogo, who raises the tone of the preaching: “African football is the escape valve. The refuge of the tormented. You can. have a president who robs hands full, that they set up an oil rig a kilometer from your house or that a European fishing boat wipe out the fish from your shores. The African is used to endure adversity. But football is always there. is going to betray “.
Reference from elmundo