The crisis in Africa that led to Paul Pogba and France's World Cup stars in Russia

Paul Pogba France 2018 World Cup
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Les Bleus' Fifa World Cup triumph brought to the fore the subject of the influx of African migrants to Europe in recent decades

A number of French players whose parents or grandparents arrived in Europe as African immigrants two or three decades ago were instrumental in helping Les Bleus win the World Cup.

Kylian Mbappe, whose roots can be traced from Cameroon and Paul Pobga whose Guinean parents moved to France in the early 1990s, both scored as France beat Croatia 4-2 to claim a second World Cup title.

African football enthusiasts took pride and celebrated witnessing a number of France stars with African heritage landing the ultimate football prize.

In a journal titled: The Dimension of the Refugee Problem in Africa, authored by Aderanti Adepoju in 1982, Africa was already entangled in migrant issues.

“The number of refugees in Africa has increased rapidly during the past 10 years, and African refugees pose today the largest refugee problem the world has to face,” the journal read.

36 years later, the challenge has reached unprecedented levels, as undeterred African immigrants embark on the perilous journey to Europe through hot desert conditions and Mediterranean Sea. War, human rights violations and economic hardships are some of the vices attributed to be forcing African migrants to Europe in search of safer opportunities.


Paul Pogba France


Footballers of African origin still take pride in their roots and one such player is Pogba who has never hidden his past.

“Already playing in the France team is a dream that came true,” Pogba told beIN Sports.

“I started the under 16 years and now I’m with team A, it is a pride. I do not forget the people who would like be in our place. When I wear this shirt I do not forget where I come from, my roots. I am very happy, very moved.”

Following a visit to Pogba's relatives in Guinea in 2011, Pogba poured out his heart after witnessing the struggles that people in his country of origin go through daily.

These are the everyday hardships that perhaps forced his parents to migrate to France seeking a better life.

“I saw how people suffered,” Pogba told ESPN. “That helped me realise the luck we have in Europe, and to think more about children, the poor, who don't have enough to eat or water to drink...A normal person here can drink water, can waste water.”

Last year, Paul Pogba celebrated his goal for Manchester United against Newcastle United in solidarity with Africans.



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Pogba was born in Lagny-sur-Marne, not long after his late father Fassou Antone and mother Yeo Moriba had arrived in France.

His parents sought refuge in France from Guinea. His footballer twin brothers Florentin and Mathias were born in Guinea and play for the Slyi Nationale but call France their home too.

While Pogba is basking in the glory of Russia 2018, his countries of origin and others turn their attention to Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers and going back to the tactical drawing board, after a failed 2018 Fifa World Cup campaign.