Whenever my family watches African teams play football, Mali and Senegal in particular, my father says: “Look at all these great players. When they are in Europe they are tremendous but when they have to play for their countries they suck.”
Some of the greatest players come from the continent. They play in the “Serie A”, “Premier League”, “Bundesliga”, “Ligue 1”. They have fans all over Europe who cheer for them and buy their jerseys. Young children aspire to be like Balotelli or Benzema, although such footballers are quickly reminded of where they are “really” from, whenever they lose.
African teams should be some of the most powerful and threatening teams. We should have fun and be entertained by their amazing performances, but somehow this doesn't happen.
There are probably two reasons for that:
- They play well for the country which pays them more
- They don't really care about Africa and the positive impact they could have on Africans
This latter point rings true for many people. Call it an inferiority complex or mental slavery if you want, but we still have a hard time being proud to be African and giving our all to Africa.
For many African footballers, students, engineers, teachers, cooks, etc - Europe is heaven. Europe is the place to be in order to make your dreams come true. They don't value what the continent has to offer them, its potential, they'd rather risk it all to reach the shores of Europe where everything is already in place.
They believe that Europe will hand out things like jobs and houses to them without realising that Europeans have to work for them like any other people.
Thinking this way shows how “lazy” and “impatient” we are. We don't want to make sacrifices in order to be independent, economically and politically stable and powerful, on the contrary we want to move to a place where everything is established.
Football or any other activity that makes you instantly rich and famous can deeply affect young people's minds. They all rush toward that opportunity and find another reason to love and admire Europe. They, however, forget that the player, the raw material, wasn't produced there. It was merely refined.
When Africa puts in place means and tools to foster her people's talents, we won't need to cross the Mediterranean to fulfill ourselves.
But someone has to start thinking that way and giving them hope, because Europe is like a magnet. With its glory, skyscrapers and lights it can easily attract anybody. From the president to a farmer.