What’s in a name at the 2010 World Cup?

A Daily Mail photo of Cameroon's Achilles Emana

Last night many Africans watched painfully as Cameroon’s chances of advancing to group stages waned in a match lost to Denmark as the continent’s pack of six fell to five. The Indomitable Lions were not impressive from the start of the World Cup but watching Et0’0, one of Africa’s most decorated players move off the world stage  at such an early level was sorrowful. The World Cup is such a painful place but it is much easier if you are in Kampala where hilarity from Uganda’s unlimited comical people rules.

Last night through many  tense moment when Cameroon was wasting loads of chances in the box  at one of Kampala’s many football fans filled bars, I couldn’t help but laugh as one man with all hope gone said, “Bano babasasuddeda,” meaning that the  Cameroonians played like they had been bought off before the game. Coming from a country that is well used to disapointments in football, Ugandans know better what it is like to watch your team fire blanks.

Yet as the Indomitable Lions look like they are headed back to Yaounde at end of the first round what Ugandans will miss is Cameroon Shirt 10 won by Real Betis’ Achille Emana. The man with that jersey has a name that is very much a taboo to speak about loud in public in Uganda and some east African countries.  The name Emana in many Bantu languages in Uganda means Vagina. It’s only during the Africa Nations Cup and the World Cup that many Ugandans get to yell that name out loud in public with a lot chuckles following nomatter where you are. But not all will easily say the man’s name that brings grins to many faces. The guy seated next to me last night chose to shorten the name and kept shouting Ema, Ema as the Cameroonian shone a few times bringing laughter to the entire bar. Whether fans of Cameroon or not, many have been drawn to watch the Indomitable Lions to enjoy the humour the follows the one Midfielder on the pitch.

Cameroon's Shirt No. 10 with a fan's name on.

Another arena has been facebook where an application gives users a chance to pick your favourite World Cup team and a player and put your name to it and many Ugandans have gone ahead to choose Cameroon’s shirt 10.

So the World Cup doesn’t only bring the football action to many football loving Ugandans but it makes exceptional moments to overide Uganda’s traditional cultures that put an unwritten never-say -that -out-loud tag on the word Vagina. As the Indomitable Lions get out of  South Africa many Ugandan football fans will surely miss this one man Emana.