Some of football’s biggest stars were lost by African countries and instead represented European nations, so we had a look at a starting line-up of FIFA World Cup-winning players with African heritage.
Click through the gallery to see Africa’s lost World Cup winning XI.
This week, another African talent pleaded his international allegiance away from Africa. Olympique Lyon midfielder Pape Cheikh Diop opted against representing Senegal, the country of his birth, and instead committed himself to Spain.
But Diop is just the latest drop in an ever-growing ocean of players with African heritage, who opt against representing Africa. As many as 15 players of France’s 2018 FIFA World Cup-winning side had African roots one way or another.
But also Germany’s 2014 champions and France’s 1998-winning squad had players who could have run out for African countries among their ranks.
Of the 1998-winning team, Zinedine Zidane and Patrick Vieira make our selection. Zidane was born in France but could have represented Algeria, the birth-country of his parents, while Vieira was born in Senegal, but left the country when he was eight years old.
Germany’s World Cup-winning squad four years ago had Jerome Boateng, who was born in Germany but has a Ghanaian father, with his paternal half-brother Kevin-Prince Boateng opting to represent Ghana. His teammate Sami Khedira is of Tunisian descent. He, too, was born in Germany but his father is Tunisian.
In addition, seven players of France’s 2018 World Cup winners – among them Paul Pogba, N'Golo Kante and Kylian Mbappe – were included in our Lost African World Cup winners XI and you can find all of them in the gallery above.
Do you think an African team could have won the World Cup, if all players with African heritage had chosen their roots over European sides? Have your say in the comments section below.