There is a World Cup
"The one month every four years when we all have dreamed of one thing ..."
This World Cup, held for the second time in Asia and the first time in the Middle East, divided opinion before the tournament started. As friend David Goldblatt summarized in the London Review of Books, Qatar’s critics “have focused on five issues: the original bid to host the World Cup; the availability of alcohol; the question of human rights, especially women’s and LGBT+ rights; the treatment of migrant workers; and the environmental implications of the tournament.” David does an excellent job of discussing these in his LRB piece. Read it.
As for me, I have commented on the hypocrisy of the West; that all five African teams are coached by African coaches: first on Al Jazeera’s The Take Podcast and then on The New York Times’s op-ed page; I was interviewed next to a football field about the politics of belonging. Finally, Tony and I (remember we do a podcast, Eleven Named People, did a joint pod with Africa Is a Country debating who should win the world, who’d we’d like to win, and who best represents its traditions. (The quote in the subtitle is from Bono’s 2010 ad for ESPN to announce the channel’s coverage of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa).
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