An Arsenal fan this week tweeted about how Manchester United and Liverpool players had nearly all been sent home with their countries from the World Cup; and that Arsenal players were still in action at the Brazil showpiece.
It’s okay to have fun about it but this guy was pretty serious when challenged that such a sentiment doesn’t necessarily mean much when it comes to club football. It didn’t help when Manager Arsene Wenger tweeted about one of tonight’s quarter final matches saying “France Vs Germany on Friday will be little bit like Arsenal vs Arsenal!” Mesut Ozil, Lukas Podolski, Per Mertesacker, Laurent Koscielny and Olivier Giroud could be called up for the match, and while it will be great to watch my Gunners in action; I think as fans of Arsenal we need to realise this is the World Cup; where football is played at the highest level ever. And participating in the World Cup doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll come back and win the league next season. This idea of supporting a certain national team because your club players are there simply doesn’t fly with me because we as fans, believe it or not, are a lot more loyal to our clubs than the players. Players switch clubs all the time and we can’t even guarantee that the French and German players who are likely to play tonight will all still be at Arsenal by the 1st of September. Man United fans could actually argue right now that Louis Van Gaal and Robin Van Persie are still in the World Cup and that means they could win the league next season. The World Cup is a completely different ball game; and I like to think you select the teams you’re going to support based on a style of play. Wenger’s style isn’t necessarily the same as Joachim Loew’s or Didier Deschamps’ despite their squads being full of Gunners. Like I said earlier it’s okay to have fun with the fact that Arsenal players are still in Brazil, but spare a thought for the Gunners who’ve been sent home already like Santi Cazorla and Alex Oxlade Chamberlain.
Now Harambee Stars are back from Brazil and shot stopper Jerim Onyango was quoted as saying on arrival that there was no difference between Kenyan footballers and the ones he saw in Brazil. In principal he is right since they are all men; but the difference to me is glaring. It’s the difference between talent and nurtured talent; between disorganised management and organised management. The difference is the reason why Harambee Stars haven’t qualified for the continental tournament in more than ten years; and why most of the teams he watched find themselves at the Fifa World Cup every four years. Ghana were in Germany in 2006, they were in SA in 2010 and they were in Brazil; on the pitch. I do hope that our boys were inspired though and that the management team that flew to Brazil were ashamed enough to make a renewed commitment to our national team.
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