The World Cup may change every four years, with a different host country and different qualifying teams, but one thing remains the same: African players and fans never fail to bring a uniquely colourful spirit to the world’s biggest sporting stage that the competition just wouldn’t be the same without.
Senegal have earned the reputation of the happiest team at the tournament, capturing people’s hearts with their dancing warm up in the stadiums. Their fans have even stayed behind to clear up litter after matches. Led by cult coach Aliou Cissé, the youngest and only black manager at the tournament, they go into their final group game against Colombia with qualification for the knockout stages still in their own hands.
The other West African representatives Nigeria were the talk of the tournament even before it had kicked off thanks to their kit, which has been widely celebrated as the most iconic of the competition. Its strikingly stylish design broke records when it received 3 million pre-orders and sold out worldwide within minutes of its launch. Nigeria have been making a statement on the pitch too, with a comfortable victory over Iceland also putting them in control of their fate going into their final group game against Argentina.
Whatever the results may be in those final matches, it’s safe to say the African teams will have made their mark at the World Cup as they do every four years, with the unique joy they bring to the tournament both on and off the pitch.