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.

13 thoughts on “What’s in a name at the 2010 World Cup?

  1. Hmmm…it seems it is not just the Cam that r giving Africans heartache…what about the Super Eagles, someone dubbed “super” nay “little chicken” after the match with Greece…methinks what we r seeing is a reflection of inadequate preparation and over-reliance on “big” players who are not hungry for glory anymore becos I know some players who will give anything just to represent Nigeria but coach and football administrators won’t even look at them “not to talk” of considering them…My dear too many stories of woes from this world cup…but hey why are we complaining…perhaps football has changed drastically…perhaps, there are no underdogs or super teams in the game anymore with cable TV showing us what everyone is capable of doing every week from the Premiership thru La Liga and even American League… Perhaps, it is time we just accept that anything can happen in 90 minutes of football…

  2. Wow! Thats really creative! Though u were watchin the game,u took a unique angle-i like ur eye for the tiny,interestin story ideas.Heartaches r all too common in the world of football.2012 AINT TOO FAR!

  3. Welcome back. (Never got the chance to welcome you).
    I usually call him “Achille”. Someone keeps pushing me to say the name
    but I find it rather complicated to say it.
    I think Achille was quite wasteful in that game though.

  4. Thanks McKeith, the guy’s name is difficult to say but i must say but to get his first name in middle of a tense moment can be as hard in fact few people know it so for now they go by the last name and it is allowed after all it’s the world cup.

  5. Hahah Amiga,
    Usted muy creativa kabisa. Many missings from Kool Ciudad Colon and quiet Upaz.

    Kassim saw the light in your analysis. That is journalism and with a Journalist who is not Kaguta but Kagumire. You see now, we are all learning, thanks McKeith, I did not know Emana is also called Achille. However, the way how I know fellow Ugandan soccer fans at Kisementi, Deep-blue, Makindye House etc, if they voted on the two names, still Emana would stage a landslide victory.

    As Bobby noticed, we need young players. They are available in local clubs but connection to the top officials is the challenge. I felt sad about Camerron, those guys deserded a win. Anyway things went like that. Our fans will surely miss that funof Emana. Recall that name markets many beers, Nyama Choma etc. As many would be cheering, ofcourse the Bar attendants are given more work, thus boosting the economy.

    I heard and later saw there the colonial invasion of the Portuguese in Asia to ne other than North Korea. We had a deadly show of man-nuclear weapons from Lisbon out matching those from N.Korea. By the time I concluded Portuguese-Korean war left a big blow to Ivory Coast because even if they beat the Lions of Teranga eat the dead bodies from the battle field, this word called Goal-difference will count in favour of the super sailors from Lisbon.
    Slowly, I see Brazil, Argentina, Spain & Portugal..Uruguay.. leading the marathon like Kenenisa Bekele nornally does.

    Success to the winning sprinter & Bye bye Emana


  6. You know me, Rosebell. I drew a blank through your entire piece until you mentioned Emana and then I was like ‘yay!’

    Not exactly an intellectual response to your post. Just an appreciation that you are still writing.

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