Soccer Laduma | Africa has only five nations at the 2018 FIFA World Cup, but considering that 14 of the 23 players in France’s squad for Russia have African roots, many fans on the continent will be supporting Les Blues. Here are the 14 World Cup stars Africa lost to France.
Having been drawn in Group C alongside Denmark, Australia and Peru, Didier Deschamps’ side has a long history of African talent, with the likes of Zinedine Zidane (Algeria) and Patrick Vieira (Senegal) having their family roots in Africa.
Overall, there are 14 players with African heritage in France’s World Cup squad, with Paul Pogba being the standout name. Manchester United’s record signing was born in France to Guinean parents. While Paul – the youngest of three brothers – represents the country of his birth, both his older brothers are Guinea internationals at senior level.
Similar to Pogba, Kylian Mbappe’s parents are both from Africa. His father hails from Cameroon, while his mother is Algerian. Kylian himself was born in Paris, but would have been eligible to represent the birth country of either of his parents.
France centre-back Samuel Umtiti was born outside of France, in Yaounde, Cameroon, to be precise. He spent the first two years of his life in his birth country but then moved to France. Cameroon made serious attempts to convince Umtiti, who played for France at U17 and U21 level, to represent his birth country at senior level, but he opted to play for France. Not even Cameroon legend Roger Milla could convince him otherwise.
Overall, there are 14 players with African roots in France’s squad for Russia 2018. They draw heritage from nine different African countries, namely Guinea, Cameroon, Senegal, DR Congo, Mali, Angola, Togo, Morocco and Algeria.