Tag Archives: South Africa

Who ‘We’ Are When the Whistle Blows


Chelsea’s Drogba and Kalou fly the Ivoirian flag. But Kalou was very nearly a Dutchman…


The fleet-footed Chelsea forward Solomon Kalou might permit himself a wry smile as he stands at attention for L’Abidjanaise, the national anthem of the Ivory Coast, when Les Elephantes face Portugal in their World Cup opener on June 15.

Were it not for the stubbornness of former Netherlands immigration minister Rita Verdonk, Kalou would have turned up at the World Cup in the other orange shirt – as a Dutchman. By turning down attempts by the Netherlands football authorities to fast-track citizenship for Kalou in time to pick him for the 2006 World Cup, the conservative Verdonk actually spared his parents a major headache: the Dutch that year played a group game against an Ivory Coast squad that included Solomon’s older brother, Bonaventure.

But the episode is simply a reminder that international football often demonstrates just how fluid and fungible the notion of nationality can be. In the same 2006 World Cup, when Croatia played Australia, three players in the Croatian squad were actually Australian, while seven of the Socceroos were eligible to represent Croatia. Continue reading

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What the Palestinians Can Learn from Mandela


John Carlin’s extraordinary new book reveals how Mandela’s genius lay not in forgiving his enemies but in disarming and outmaneuvering them, while never compromising on his demand for justice Continue reading

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Waxing Brazilian on Euro 2008

The lesson for South Africa is clear. Our talent pool is so piss-poor that Brazilian coaches won’t help — we need to learn from the Europeans and import Brazilian players! Continue reading

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Stop South Africa’s Pogroms!

Violence against immigrants in South Africa may be a product of poverty, but my friend Ray Hartley argues, the only answer is to make them full and equal citizens Continue reading

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