Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : July 1st 2014 Contents JOSHUA SURTEES
If you were an international foot-
baller, which country would you
For most of us the answer would
be fairly obvious---your country of
birth. But for some people there are
a number of ways we might have
ended up playing for other coun-
Back home in London, I have
many friends who could have played
for the Republic of Ireland because
their parents or grandparents are
from there. Indeed, when Ireland
travelled to Italy for the 1990 World
Cup Finals, 13 of their 22-man squad
were born in England (two in Scot-
land, one in Wales and just five in
At Brazil 2014, a staggering 16 of
Algeria's players were born in France.
Many of them play in the French
league but, because of their Algerian
ancestry, there is nothing stopping
them from choosing to play for either
Sometimes players make the
choice based on their affinity with,
say, France or Algeria, and play for
the country they feel more connec-
tion to. But often it is more prag-
matic---getting into the French side
is difficult so, if a player wants to
have the chance of competing at a
World Cup, it makes sense to go for
the "easier" option.
In recent years England's cricket
team has recruited players from Aus-
tralia and South Africa who, perhaps,
weren't good enough to make those
sides but were welcomed into the
England fold. This was a huge depar-
ture from the old days when eligi-
bility rules were so strict that coun-
ties like Yorkshire required its players
to have been born within the borders
of the county itself.
In football, FIFA has been liberal
with its eligibility laws since the
mid-20th century. In the past, play-
ers were even allowed to switch
Alfredo di Stefano played for
Argentina in 1947, Colombia in 1949
and Spain between 1957 and 1961.
His Real Madrid teammate Ferenc
Puskas also played for Spain after a
distinguished career for his native
In 2004, FIFA president Sepp
Blatter described the looseness of
the laws on "naturalised" players as
a "farce". If a player lives and plays
in a country for five years or more
they are normally eligible for both
a passport and a place in the national
side of his or her adopted country.
Spain's Diego Costa, Croatia's Eduar-
do and Italy's Thiago Motta, for
example, are all Brazilian by birth.
Argentina's Lionel Messi and Javier
Mascherano both hold Spanish pass-
ports and could, technically, switch
CONTINUES ON PAGE A34
Rings around the world
• Twitter: @GuardianTT • Web: guardian.co.tt
Germany's Jerome Boateng, righ, and his
half-borther Ghana's Kevin-Prince Boateng
challenge for the ball during the group G
World Cup soccer match between Germany
and Ghana at the Arena Castelao in Fortaleza,
Brazil, Saturday, June 21, 2014. AP PHOTO
Caribbean descendants in Brazil
Tracing the ancestry of the players at the World Cup has been made
simpler by Australian web designer James Offer, who has researched
the ancestry (parents and grandparents) of every player in the tour-
nament and created a fascinating digital infographic tool.
The interactive web page www.codehesive.com/wc-ancestry allows
users to hover over any of the 32 countries competing and see, instantly
displayed onscreen, the connections of each team in a neatly designed
colour diagram. To the side, specific details of each player's parentage
For people who thought there was no Caribbean presence at the
World Cup, a quick glance at England proves them wrong.
On the eve of the Uruguay match, England's players held a conference
in which 19-year-old attacking midfielder Raheem Sterling spoke about
his mum, Nadine, a massive influence on his life and career during his
formative years growing up in Maverley in Kingston, Jamaica. The
Sterling family lived there until 2002, when young Raheem was eight
years old. Nadine Sterling then brought the family to live in Neasden,
northwest London, where he grew up with the giant Wembley arch
constantly in his sights.
Sterling's path---he now plays for Liverpool in the Premier League---
mirrors that of John Barnes, a player also born in Jamaica who moved
to England at a young age and ended up an Anfield legend after a spell
at a smaller club (Watford in Barnes' case, QPR for Sterling.)
Barnes and Sterling both had the choice of playing for Jamaica. Both
chose England, but in very different circumstances.
The toxic racism which greeted Barnes' early appearances in the
England shirt has now been consigned to history and Sterling and other
black England players express themselves in a different cultural cli-
For England, Daniel Sturridge and Alex Olade-Chamberlain both
have Jamaican grandparents.
In the Dutch side, Nigel De Jong, Jeremain Lens, Georgino Wijnaldum
and Michael Vorm all have parents from Suriname. Leroy Fer is from
Curacao in the Dutch Antilles.
Jozy Altidore, the USA striker, has Haitian parentage. In the French
team, Loic Remy's father was born in Martinique.
But, alas... there are no Trinis.
If you're going to cast an A-lister, get
ready for A-list demands.
For the first time in nearly a decade,
Halle Berry has decided to put her big
screen endeavors on hold and returned to
television. "I was being offered parts that
I felt like I had done before," Berry tells
Entertainment Weekly in their latest
issue, on newsstands tomorrow, of her
decision to make the transition. "They
weren't exciting enough for me to leave
my family for four months."
The award-winning star added, "I real-
ized some of the best writing especially
for women, was on television."
So, she decided to give the small screen
another go, starring in the new CBS sci-fi
space drama Extant. However, it is Halle-
freakin'-Berry, so you bet your booty her
paycheck for the new series is up there,
and she had her own list of demands
According to the article, Berry is "earn-
ing north of $100,000 an episode and a
coexecutive producing credit." The 47-
year-old mother of two also "requested a
closed set (on which President Obama's
daughter Malia was secretly a production
assistant) and received an on-set body-
Extant revolves around an astronaut
(Berry) who returns home to her family
inexplicably pregnant after a year in outer
"The minute I started to read it, I could-
n't put it down," Berry told the mag.
How much is Berry making for her return to TV
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