BSP-22 French World Cup victors show triumph of diversity: Obama

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BSP-22

SAFRICA-OBAMA-MANDELA-WC-2018-FRA

French World Cup victors show triumph of diversity: Obama

JOHANNESBURG, July 17, 2018 (BSS/AFP) – 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.

BSS/AFP/MRI/2330 hrs