2018 FIFA World Cup: The Greatest Show on Earth - LIVE on Kwesé Sports
FIFA is a French acronym that translates into English as 'The International Federation of Association Football'. If you're wondering why it's called 'association football' and not simply 'football', therein lies a tale.
In England, where the sport originated, it was called 'association football' to distinguish it from 'rugby football'. 'Soccer' comes from the word 'association'. FIFA not only runs world football, it also runs beach soccer and futsal - a type of five-a-side football.
FIFA was founded in 1904 to run international competitions between European nations. It now organises the world's most widely viewed sporting event - the FIFA World Cup - and boasts 211 national associations. This impressive tally is more than the amount of countries in the world (195). The United Kingdom provides a good example of why there are more international football teams in the world than there are countries.
The UK consists of England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Island. Politically it's one country, with one membership at the United Nations, but for sport purposes it's four countries. Given that these four soccer-mad nations have only one won World Cup title between them (England in England 1966), perhaps they should consider joining forces for the sake of winning another. But that's another story.
In 2018, Africa will contribute five of the 32 nations at the FIFA World Cup in Russia. African teams will make up around a sixth of the competition, and our population is about a sixth of the world total: fair's fair.
Currently 20 African teams are duking it out in the qualifying stages. With two games completed and four to go, DR Congo, Nigeria, Cote d'Ivoire, Burkina Faso and Egypt lead their respective groups.
An African team has never progressed to the semi-finals. Cameroon (1990), Senegal (2002), and Ghana (2010) have made it as far as the quarter-finals. The African record for the most World Cup final appearances belongs to Cameroon, who've appeared at eight events between 1982 and 2014.
The unluckiest African result goes to Ghana, who were cheated out of a semi-final berth at South Africa 2010. Late in extra time of the quarter-final against Uruguay, bad-boy Luis Suárez deliberately handballed Dominic Adiyia's header off the goal-line. Suárez was red-carded and the referee pointed to the penalty spot, only for Asamoah Gyan to miss.
The game ended in a draw and Uruguay won on penalties. Agony for Ghana, delight for Suárez, who compared his handball to Maradona's notorious 'Hand of God' goal, boasting: "I made the best save of the tournament. Sometimes in training I play as a goalkeeper so it was worth it."
Africa will be hoping to break its semi-final duck at the 2018 FIFA World Cup being held in Russia from 14 June to 15 July.
Catch all the action on Kwesé: we've secured exclusive free-to-air sub-Saharan Africa rights (excluding South Africa) for the event, to be broadcast on Kwesé Free Sports (KFS). Those wanting the full FIFA World Cup viewing experience can catch it on Kwesé TV, for which we've secured non-exclusive pay-TV rights.
And there's more good news: as part of the deal with FIFA, Kwesé viewers can also watch FIFA U-20 World Cup 2017, FIFA U-17 World Cup 2017, FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup 2017, FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup 2018 and FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup 2018 on all Kwesé platforms, including Kwesé Free Sports.
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