Reporting the negatives instead of the positives – How Western media platforms report AFCON 2021

This article focuses on the utter disrespect and ignorance of Western media platforms towards the ongoing TotalEnergies African Cup of Nations in Cameroon. These Western media platforms are using their huge social media following to discredit, provoke, and disrespect the efforts of the Confederation of African Football in organizing one of the most respected tournaments in football history.

From the BBC, Aljazeera, CNN, Daily Mail Sport, Goal, Bleacher Report Football – to English Premier League coaches reluctantly refusing to let go off African players to represent their respective countries – to European football pundits predicting a failed AFCON tournament – the African Cup of Nations has, since its onset, received a tremendous amount of negative comments, reviews, bad media reporting that is aimed at tarnishing the image of the tournament despite its colorful opening ceremony and wonderful stadiums.

For example, Liverpool coach Jurgen Klopp, in a press conference said the African Cup of Nations is a “small tournament”, even though the African Cup of Nations is the second biggest and most expensive tournament after the World Cup.

As sarcastically as it sounds, that was a rant highly unacceptable and offensive to the continent and its people. The tournament has ridiculously faced antagonism from the very start. It was European clubs who were at the fore in remonstrations against the intended festivities. Most of them were vocal crybabies, writing a letter to the FIFA deputy secretary-general stating their concerns. One of which was that they will be losing their key players to the tournament.

The publication of media websites situated at the outskirts of Europe made preposterous claims predicting the crumble of the AFCON tournament, indirectly citing the reason that the possibility of the event lies on the whims and caprices of these European clubs. One of the most popular news outlets in England The Sun, for instance, was very strategic in conveying these slandering messages. It may have colonial undertones, but the success stories of Africa have hardly been appreciable by the West. Even when they are, they would be dipped in the water of deceit or sympathetic insinuations.

Let’s get into details.

NEGATIVE REPORTAGE ASSESSMENT OF THE AFCON TOURNAMENT BY WESTERN MEDIA PLATFORMS

The African Cup Of Nation Tournament was founded in 1957. It is the largest and most exciting footballing event on the continent. The competition has aided the exposure of talented footballers to the world at large. Many up-and-coming prospects or local league football players aspire to play in that event. Furthermore, the elation and joyousness of the various nationalities whose countries are participating in the competition lighten up the atmosphere. The opening day performance is met with a confident display of the African cultural showcase and exhibition. A feeling relatable to all indigenes of Africa. However, why is the story different in Western media publications? Why is the competition publicized only for the wrong reasons?

The final of the UEFA Euro 2020 was played between England and Italy. The match was heatedly contested. Italy, however, outclassed the England side to win their first Euro trophy. The procession of the match was a perfect sham. The worst. Fans of the losing side hunted down the Italians in a rigid rampage. Fans were injured, and properties were vandalized. The Italian fans were also racially abused and profiled. There was little puffery by the English or Western media. Even if there was, it never generated to a point where the tournament was branded a sham like what Daily Mail Sport forwarded, claiming it was a comment. Even the excuses posited for this lack of sportsmanship were heaped on the premise of natural flairs and sport sentiments. Had it been it happened in Africa, the headlines, contents, and structures of the wordings would have been highly belittling. The Spanish league also saw Sevilla player Jordán hit with an arrow to his head from opposition fans. Thankfully, it did not happen at AFCON, or it would have been something different.

Referee Andre Marinner wrongfully issued a red card to the then Arsenal player Kieran Gibbs in a match against Chelsea. It was a fixture in the almighty Premier League which is believed to be one of the best leagues. That did not call for denigrating proportions on Marriner. He went on to officiate subsequent matches. For Marriner, it is seen as a “sorry mistake”. For Africa, it is a wreckage of the poor normative complexion perceived by the West, binding on Africans. The Sun‘s continual persistence on Referee Janny Sikazwe’s blunder in Mali vs Tunisia match was deliberately intimidating. It sounded as if the unfortunate actions of Sikazwe were unprecedented in the history of football. We’ve once had Paul Tierney blow the half-time whistle early when Liverpool’s Sadio Mane was clearly through on goal against Manchester United, the intensity to blow trumpets over it was unavailable.

Sierra Leone held the defending champions Algeria to an unbelievable stalemate. A match that added some detailed information on the books of motivational speakers, we were all thrilled to see the underdogs scrape something off. Additionally, the sizeable West African nation made valuable headlines across different media outlets or platforms. However, the celebrations were disrupted by misleading spews of mendacious facts containing the nation. You cannot say Italy traveled to England in mere boats to participate in the Euro Tournament, because they are well distinguished and revered. But, Facebook pages like Football World falsely uploaded that the Sierra Leonean team used boats to travel for the AFCON tournament. We are talking of a national team that is paying more than $4,000 per player as match arrears for this year’s tournament. Therefore, chartering a flight, which they did, is less of their worry.

The intentional rambling by these Western-oriented media platforms has been so obvious and noticeable. It is uniquely absurd to note that Jurgen Klopp’s unethical and utterly disrespectful rant calling the African Cup of Nations a “small tournament” has a total amount of 5 million dollars as prize money. L ‘Équipe, for instance, may choose not to glamorize the event.

But, these media platforms should know that we are highly enthusiastic about the festivities of the AFCON tournament, and look forward to more colorful AFCON tournaments to come.

Author: Delvid Stanley-Coker

Delvid Stanley-Coker is a dedicated writer for The African Dream. His passion and desire to publicize the appreciable department of Africa, and voicing out the prevalent ills of society has adequately contributed to the promulgation of stories of different sort. He finds pleasure in reading novels, listening to soothing songs, and play video games for leisure purposes.