The Beautiful Game
There are several types of football played around the world. There’s Canadian football, American football, Australian rules football, even rugby football. But there’s only one that can be truly considered a global game, passionately played and followed by billions of people in every corner of the globe. It is association football, better known as soccer. Incidentally, it is also the only one played primarily with the feet. Which, according to many, makes it the most deserving of being called football.
Every four years, football fans across the world excitedly tune into the sport’s premier event, the FIFA World Cup. For the first time, the global football extravaganza is being hosted in the Arab world, in Qatar. The tournament brings together the biggest and brightest stars of the soccer firmament, to delight and dazzle the world’s fans on the biggest stage. You may have heard of Messi, Neymar and Mbappe, among the brightest of the current stars. Undoubtedly, you know our very own Alphonso Davies. Yet, the most skilled player in Qatar might turn out to be Laʼeeb, the official mascot, whose name means super-skilled player in Arabic.
Who will win the grand prize? Whose light will shine brightest in the Qatari desert? Will it be Mbappe and defending champions, France? Will it be Neymar and perennial favourites, Brazil? Will it be Messi and Argentina, in what will likely be the South American virtuoso’s final shot at World Cup glory? Will we see our first African champion? Al Rihla (“the journey” in Arabic) and the quest to crown a new champion is a 64-game thriller. No matter the outcome, fans are sure to have a blast as we’re reminded once again why football is the beautiful game.
Michael Kofi Ngongi is a new Canadian originally from Cameroon. He has experience in international development and is a freelance writer interested in language and its usage.