Choosing Teams

Imagining Futures of Diaspora through the 2018 World Cup

In: African Diaspora
View More View Less
  • 1 Maastricht University

Purchase instant access (PDF download and unlimited online access):



The future of diaspora goes together with the future of diversity, and the different ways in which states and nations can reconfigure how their mobile, multifaceted members are accepted as belonging. The 2018 FIFA World Cup, like many international sporting events, crystallised some of debates about citizenship and belonging as applied to specific players and, notably for this event, to the ‘foreign-born’ men playing for the Moroccan team. Though public debates often focus on evaluating the ‘belonging’ of individuals who are chosen for elite events to represent the nation, that lens did not seem to be applied to the Moroccan team. By exploring how diversity and diaspora were debated in relation to players for European teams in this same tournament, I explore here how the Moroccan example represents perhaps a new direction for diaspora: one which connects descendants across multiple nations and states without character judgments about who can belong.

  • Aleinikoff, T. Alexander and Douglas Klusmeyer (Eds.). 2001. Citizenship today: global perspectives and practices. Washington, D.C.: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

  • Bahara, Hassan. 2018. ‘Het Marokkaanse voetbalelftal; hoe de loyaliteit van de Leeuwen van de Atlas van twee kanten betwist wordt’. de Volkskrant. 8 June 2018.

  • Beaman, Jean. 2018. ‘Stop Calling the French World Cup Victory an “Immigrant Win” ’. Washington Post. 20 July 2018.

  • BBC News. 2018. ‘Noah Defends Africa World Cup Joke’, 19 July 2018, sec. Africa.

  • Berkowitz, Bonnie, Chris Alcantara, Monica Ulmanu, and Chiqui Esteban. 2018. ‘How Foreign-Born Players Put the “World” in World Cup’. Washington Post, 18 June 2018, sec. Sports – Analysis.

  • Blunt, Alison. 2005. Domicile and Diaspora: Anglo-Indian Women and the Spatial Politics of Home. Oxford: Blackwell.

  • Brah, Avtar. 1996. Cartographies of Diaspora: Contesting Identities. London: Routledge.

  • Bryant, Tom. 2018. ‘Mesut Özil Walks Away from Germany Team Citing “Racism and Disrespect” ’. The Guardian, 23 July 2018, sec. Football.

  • Champine, Riley D. 2018. ‘See Which World Cup Teams Have the Most Foreign-Born Players’. National Geographic Magazine. July 2018.

  • Cohen, Robin. 1997. Global Diasporas. London: UCL Press.

  • Daoudi, Hasna. 2017. ‘Maroc-CAN 2017: Samira Sitail Mouche Un Chroniqueur Qui s’ est Attaqué Aux Bi-Nationaux de l’ équipe Nationale’. 22 January 2017.

  • Did Africa Just Win The World Cup? 2018. The Daily Show With Trevor Noah. Comedy Central UK.

  • ‘Dutch Football Fans Back Belgium, Germany and Morocco for the World Cup’. 2018. DutchNews.Nl. 14 June 2018.

  • Fangar, Mohamed. 2018. ‘‮تجديد دماء المنتخب … إزاحة الستار مطلع شتنبر عن خيارات رونار‬‎’. Hespress. 8 August 2018.

  • King, Russell, and Anastasia Christou. 2009. ‘Cultural Geographies of Counter-Diasporic Migration: Perspectives from the Study of Second-Generation “returnees” to Greece’. Population, Space and Place 15 (2): 103–119.

  • Kuper, Simon. 2018. ‘World Cup 2018: Morocco – a Team of Europeans’. Financial Times, 1 June 2018.

  • Lukaku, Romelu. 2018. ‘I’ve Got Some Things to Say’. The Players’ Tribune. 18 June 2018.

  • McManus, John. 2018. ‘It’s Not Just Mesut Özil. All Diaspora Footballers Face the Same Conflict | John McManus’. The Guardian, 23 July 2018, sec. Opinion.

  • Mohsine, Réda. 2017. ‘#NonAuxBiNationaux, le hashtag de la discorde’. 24 January 2017.

  • Panja, Tariq. 2018. ‘In Morocco, an Imported Team for the World Cup’. The New York Times, 17 September 2018, sec. Sports.

  • ‘Pechvogel Bouhaddouz na eigen goal aangeboden op Marktplaats: “Afhalen in Sint-Petersburg” ’. 2018. Sportnieuws. 15 June 2018.

  • Silverstein, Paul. 2018. ‘World Cup Summer in Postcolonial France’. Pluto Press (blog). 3 July 2018.

  • Trevor Responds to Criticism from the French Ambassador – Between The Scenes. 2018. The Daily Show with Trevor Noah. Comedy Central UK.

  • Wagner, Lauren B. 2017. Becoming Diasporically Moroccan: Linguistic and Embodied Practices for Negotiating Belonging. Clevedon: Multilingual Matters.

  • White, Adam. 2018. ‘Liberté, Égalité, Diversity: How France Won the World Cup’. The Guardian, 17 July 2018, sec. Football.

  • ‘World Cup 2018: Morocco Have Five Netherlands-Born Players in Their Squad’. 2018. BBC Sport. 12 June 2018.

Content Metrics

All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 351 228 10
Full Text Views 32 9 1
PDF Views & Downloads 23 11 2