Maduro calls Africa WC winners, Obama attributes French victory to diversity

AFP . Caracas | Update:

In this file photo taken on 18 July 2018 Benjamin Pavard waves to the crowd in his home town of Jeumont, northern France, three days after French players won the Russia 2018 World Cup final football match. French Stuttgart defender Benjamin Pavard signed a contract to join Bayern Munich in 2019 during the World Cup, but the Bavarian club would like to attract the brand new world champion this summer, says German regional public broadcaster SWR on 19 July 2018. -- AFPVenezuela president Nicolas Maduro believes Africa and not France are the true winners of the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

France beat Croatia 4-2 in Sunday's final in Moscow, but with a team featuring number players of African heritage.

"The French team seems like the African team, in reality Africa won, the African immigrants who arrived in France," Maduro said at an event to celebrate police day in Venezuela on Monday.

"How much have they despised Africa, and in the football World Cup France won the trophy thanks to African players or the sons of Africans."

Two of France's goalscorers against Croatia have African roots: Paul Pogba's parents are from Guinea while Kylian Mbappe's parents are Cameroonian and Algerian.

Of the players who started in the final, Samuel Umtiti was born in Cameroon, Blaise Matuidi's parents are Angolan and Congolese, N'Golo Kante's parents are Malian while Raphael Varane's father is from the Caribbean island of Martinique.

Of the 23-man squad, 16 have African roots of some sort, although captain Hugo Lloris, goalscorer Antoine Griezmann and striker Olivier Giroud are of European heritage.

Maduro nonetheless congratulated the team for the "beautiful" way they played and paid tribute to his ally and Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin for putting on "the best World Cup in the history of football."

The Venezuelan leader, who has presided over a collapse of the country's economy and who has been widely condemned for the repression of opponents, called on France and Europe as a whole to use this victory as a springboard to end the mistreatment of Africans and Latin Americans.

"That's enough racism in Europe against Africans, enough discrimination against migrants," he said.

"Hopefully France and Europe will appreciate that us, southerners, Africans, Latin Americans, are worthy and powerful."

Maduro has a tense relationship with French President Emmanuel Macron who has accused him of implementing a "dictatorship" in the South American country.

French WC victors show triumph of diversity: Obama

AFP . Jonannesburg

Former US president Barack Obama on Tuesday singled out the African heritage of many players in France's World Cup-winning football team in a speech paying tribute to Nelson Mandela.

Speaking in Johannesburg to mark 100 years since Mandela's birth, Obama said that embracing diversity "delivers practical benefits since it ensures that a society can draw upon the energy and skills of all... people."

"And if you doubt that, just ask the French football team that just won the World Cup -- because not all these folks look like Gauls to me, they are French, they are French," he stressed with a smile.

France beat Croatia 4-2 in Sunday's final in Moscow, with a team featuring many players of African heritage.

Of the 23 players in the French squad, around two-thirds are of Arab or African descent.

Two of France's goalscorers against Croatia have African roots: Paul Pogba's parents are from Guinea while Kylian Mbappe's parents are Cameroonian and Algerian.

Of the players who started in the final, Samuel Umtiti was born in Cameroon, Blaise Matuidi's parents are Angolan and Congolese, N'Golo Kante's parents are Malian while Raphael Varane's father is from the Caribbean island of Martinique.

 
   
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