What does Hannibal Mejbri’s Bold Decision Mean for Africa?

Despite having a wealth of it, Africans have always been deprived of talent. Most African players born outside their countries choose to represent their native land in comparison with their native place.

Kylian Mbappe, Ansu Fati and Adama Traore are just a few of the high profile names that have recently chosen to represent their countries of birth.

To put that into context, a whopping 87 per cent of the French world cup winning squad were either immigrants or children of immigrants. Much of this incredible figure would be eligible for their native African countries.

Had the new whiz kid from Manchester United chosen to follow such a path, France would have new talents, while Africa would again be deprived.

The highly-rated young midfielder has already represented the French at U16 and U17 levels and had occasionally let the chance to play for the u18’s slip past him. The writing was on the wall that he perhaps was entertaining thoughts to don a different jersey at the international level.

Spectacularly, the already capped Tunisian international was unveiled before a contingent of journalists and Senior Tunisian FA figures as one of their own. The ceremony speaks volumes with regards to how much the Tunisians value their acquisition. It will be a massive coup should he have a successful career ahead of him.

“I think that it is the best decision for my family and me,” Mejbri said. “I am very proud of this decision. Tunisia is my country, the country of my parents so for sure there is a strong complicity.

“I like this country a lot that is why I made this decision. I speak a little Arabic, but not very well. I lost it since I arrived in England. I am not scared about that” He continued.

In a typical show of courage, the 19-year-old reiterated that he is well capable of handling the pressure bestowed upon him by the Tunisian people. He said “The higher the bar, the more you can improve. It can only help me to gain experience……. I think that I made the right choice. We will see in the future if that is the case. I am trying to build something, not purely on the sporting side.”

The Manchester United U23 player of the year joined the Red Devils from Monaco in 2019 after the latter had to part with ten million euros to get his signature. He has since cemented his spot in Neil Wood’s side before capturing manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s attention.

He made his senior debut in a 2-1 away win against former manager Nuno’s wolves. He shared the pitch alongside another African prodigy Amad Diallo. The latter despite being in Europe for a significant part of his life chose to represent Ivory Coast.

Africans hope that the courageous transition of Hannibal will spark a positive trend where Africans born in foreign countries choose to represent their country.

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