When people look at footballing bedrocks for producing talent, they usually turn their attention toward South America, Holland, Germany, and other countries with a pedigree (for the successful production of football players).
The Premier League has benefited from multicultural immigration from other countries for decades now, John Barnes and Viv Anderson being key examples of this
One continent that has become a hotbed for talent is indeed Africa. Africa has a population of 1.216 billion. A part of the world that has produced Yaya Toure, Jay-Jay Okocha, Michael Essien, and Patrick Vieira. Many people often forget to cite the growing influence of Africans in football.
The French football team that won the World Cup in 2018 had a substantial African influence due to its history with Africa. -The ‘98 french world cup winning side had a strong African influence also.
Athletes and sport stars born in France but still maintain that African influence from mom and dad are now part of every French football team and academy.
The UK has followed a similar pattern with its immigration of Africans (Ghanian, Somalians, Zimbabwe, Nigerians, Caribbeans, West Indians, Jamaicans. Trinidadians and Tobagonians
Until the late 1980s, total migration was around 5,000 a year. The total reached 20,000) in the 1990s.
The number of migrants increased rapidly at the turn of the century and remained around 30,000) per year during this decade.
Many footballing academies across the Premier League and Europe have benefited from the African and Caribbean men and women settling down to start a family.
Bukayo Saka (Arsenal) is the son of two Nigerian parents. Joe Gomez (Liverpool) plays for England but is of Gambian descent, and the likes of Tammy Abraham (Chelsea) is an England international but is of Nigeria descent and Raheem Sterling (Jamaican descent) are examples of this.
Manchester United spend millions on transfer fees every year and break records. Jadon Sancho, Declan Rice, Jack Grealish are all premium level buys. However, the club could act smarter in the market, and this could be found closer to home at the club’s training facilities in Carrington.
Manchester United could save millions with two players of African heritage already in their academy.
- Shola Shoretire
Born in Newcastle, with Nigerian ancestry courtesy of his father. Shoretire spent his early childhood in the North East and played for esteemed Wallsend Boys Club – following (in the footsteps of) Peter Beardsley, Alan Shearer, Michael Carrick, and Lee Clark to name a few.
United quickly recognized his talents, snapping him up at the age of 10, where he has since shone through the age groups above his age.
Shola Shoretire’s name first hit several headlines in 2018 when he became the youngest ever player to appear in the UEFA Youth League, coming off the bench against Valencia as a 14-year-old.
Born two days before Mark Zuckerberg launched Facebook, Shoretire was coming up against footballers five years his senior.
Shoretire recently turned 17 on the 2nd of February this year and has looked comfortable in Neil Woods U23’s Manchester side despite being 16 years of age a month ago.
Shoretire has managed five goals and three assists in 13 appearances in the Premier League 2. He also scored a (hat-trick) against (PL 2) then leaders Blackburn last week and has now signed his first professional contract with Manchester United. Shoretire’s rise in football has kicked into gear these last two years.
Manchester United have convinced Shoretire to sign a deal despite advances from a host of European giants like Barcelona, Bayern Munich, PSG, and Juventus.
Shoretire has sought the advice of Marcus Rashford, Mason Greenwood, and Michael Owen over his future and was convinced to stay at United.
Ole Gunnar Solskjær brought Shola Shoretire into Manchester United first-team training on Sunday, and he is said to remain there while he continues to improve.
He can play (the number nine or 10 roles), while also on the left and right and adds versatility to the United u23s side. A player who loves a tackle can also mix it up as shown with Hannibal Mejbri in the 6-3 demolition of Blackburn.
Shoretire can play for Nigeria or England, and it could be another headache for the England manager in the future.
- Hannibal Mejbri
Born in Paris in the southeastern suburbs of Paris, France. Hannibal Mejbri is the youngest of four children to Tunisian parents.
Turning heads in Ile-de-France at the age of nine-year, his talent was clear for all to see. Mejbri had been identified as the biggest talent of his generation since he was young and has gone through the INF Clairefontaine pre-academy like Kylian Mbappe and Thierry Henry before him.
The young midfielder can be seen a mile away with his sideshow Bob haircut. Barcelona, Liverpool, and Manchester City all wanted him, but United had signed Mjberi from Monaco for £9 million.
According to The Athletic, Mejbri routinely ‘takes the piss’ in training sessions with the under-23s. He has been widely tipped to make his breakthrough into the Manchester United first team.
Hannibal Mejbri can play attacking mid and center midfield. He has managed three goals and four assists in 13 appearances at the PL 2 level while also featuring for the U-21s in the EFL Trophy.
The most memorable moment was when Leeds played United in the FA Youth Cup.
Leeds United’s fans aired a chant likening him to a Simpsons‘ character during the Old Trafford tie. Visiting supporters chanted ‘you’re just a s*** Sideshow Bob‘ as United recorded a 1-0 win. – When was this?
If you watch Hannibal for the u23’s, you’ll compare him to Aston Villa talisman Jack Grealish, not because they look alike or anything similar. The young Parisian draws foul after foul in games and is chopped continuously down due to his dribbling ability.
He is tenacious but has the quality to back it up. He can pass, tackle, and dribble. Hannibal like Shoretire has been called up to Solskjaer’s first team, and both could give Ole a selection headache if they continue the upward trajectory they are on.
FIFA Congress To Decide Future Host Of FIFA Women’s World Cup™
Council assigns FIFA Women’s World Cup™ hosting decision to the football governing body’s Congress; also approves financial statements for 2020 and budget for 2022.
Meeting by video conference, the Council conferred to the Congress the decision to award Women’s World Cup™ hosting rights.
Until now, the decision has been taken by the FIFA Council, most recently in June 2020 when the hosting rights for the 2023 edition were awarded to Australia and New Zealand.
As the football governing body seeks to raise the profile of the women’s game, this represents a significant step to bring the Women’s World Cup in line with the flagship men’s competition.
The proposal will be put forward for a final decision by the 71st FIFA Congress, which will meet virtually (for the second time) on 21 May.
International match calendar and release of players.
The FIFA Council received a report on the international football situation during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Bureau of the Council had extended to April 2021 the temporary amendments to the Regulations on the Status and Transfer of Players regarding the release of players for international duty, and FIFA, the confederations, and its member associations remain in dialogue with national authorities about exemptions from quarantine rules for national team players.
READ ALSO: Mosengo-Omba Is CAF New General Secretary
The FIFA Council recognized that the highest priority in football is the health of the players, and therefore the discussion around the release of players for international duty must maintain this perspective, especially as the public health situation develops around the world.
2020 financials and 2022 budget
The Council also approved the organization’s Annual Report, which contains the financial statements for 2020 and the budget for 2022.
The FIFA Annual Report 2020 focuses on the role played by world football’s governing body in the fight against COVID-19, primarily through the unprecedented COVID-19 Relief Plan, which has made available USD 1.5 billion to support FIFA’s 211 member associations and the confederations through times of financial uncertainty.
The FIFA Annual Report 2020 is available on the official site.
FIFA Arab Cup 2021™
The Council approved the competition regulations for the FIFA Arab Cup 2021, confirming the match schedule and draw procedure for the competition taking place in Qatar from 1 to 18 December this year.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Fédération Internationale de Football Association.
Paul Onuachu: A Victim Of Tactical Deficiency
Ever wondered why Genk forward Paul Onuachu has always been a prolific figure for his club and find it hard to replicate that form with the Super Eagles when invited?
The Nigeria international has been in awesome form for the Blue-White, scoring 26 goals in the Jupiler League this season for Genk, while his scoring prowess at his club has been a contrast to his form with the national team under Gernot Rohr scoring just once in 9 games despite being a top performer at club level.
Ahead of the AFCON qualifier doubleheader against Lesotho and the Benin Republic, Super Eagles coach Gernot Rohr named his 23 man list with the inform former Midtjylland forward listed as one of the standby players.
Onuachu’s struggles with the Super Eagles in previous games he featured is quite baffling, considering the excitement that greeted his first appearance with the national team plus the impressive form he’s currently in.
The job of every manager is to find a suitable position or fashion out tactics that would be suitable for their players in other to blend with the team approaches to every match. In Onuachu’s case, he hasn’t been fortunate enough to blend in with Rohr’s tactics. While at club level, Midtjylland plays to his strength.
However, due to Napoli’s players been restricted from traveling, the Genk forward made it through the backdoor to replace Gernot Rohr’s number one forward Victor Osimhen who hasn’t really hit the ground running with the ‘Partenopei‘, but when with the Eagles, he never fails to deliver.
It’s no doubt that the lanky striker has failed to deliver in his previous games, disappointing the ever-demanding Nigerian football enthusiasts with unforgiving backlashes from the fans. However, his prolific prowess with his club suggests otherwise and consistently makes a case for him to be integrated into the team with a different tactical approach that suits his style.
The era of a target man may have been long gone in football due to the advent of new tactics that have brought about a series of changes in the game. With managers preferring to go with a fast, skillful, or makeshift winger- kind of striker, instead of a target man.
READ ALSO: Super Eagles: 9 Players Who Netted On Debut
Looking at how Paul Onuachu plays with Genk upfront shows he’s one of the best target men in football, despite been perceived by many as a slow and old-fashioned kind of forward. However, John van den Bromm has been able to carve out a tactic that suits him which has been evident with his prolific form irrespective of his style of play.
Onuachu’s Super Eagle future might be on the knife-edge with Gernot Rohr not finding the right tactics that suit the Genk forward, especially with him not been consider as the go-to man despite his blistering runs of form in Belgium.
In recent times Rohr’s philosophy of vibrant attacking football with an emphasis on passing in the final third which requires the expertise of brilliant players to implement such tactics hasn’t really favored him.
Having a player in the mold of Onuachu gives Rohr another tactical option and an alternative style of play should the initial approach fails to work as expected, but the German tactician hasn’t really taken advantage of what the man could offer with a different opponent.
Onuachu’s presence in the Super Eagles team should be an added advantage in terms of variety when the normal approach of the manager fails. With an in-form striker on the bench, it could prove valuable, but in the former Midtjylland’s case, Gernot Rohr doesn’t seem to see him as a player that has a future with the national team.
Players in the mold of the Nigerian are quite physically imposing as the point man, though they may not offer the team excellent off-the-ball movement in some cases. However, they often find a way to provide an opportunity which the team could utilize when attacking or defending.
Onuachu’s inability to show a good turn of pace and smart footwork may have been one of the deficiencies that are affecting his chances of blending perfectly into the team.
However, the job of a manager is to help players blend in perfectly, and that’s exactly what Gernot Rohr should be doing. Not only for Onuachu but for every other player who are always finding it hard to replicate club form with the National Team.