The case of Bastian Schweintaiger being recalled to the Manchester United first team is a victory for Germany and, to some extent, for their media in general. The Germans, from it’s media to players and legends never shied away from voicing their dissatisfaction with Mourinho’s treatment of Shweini. They used this time when the team is not doing well to push the issue as much as possible, with Manuel Neuer, Micheal Ballack and Lukas Podolski calling for his recall in the last few days.
Now compare this to the situation of Yaya Toure at Manchester City. Toure, like Shweinsteiger, is another aging midfielder whose legacy in the game makes him an influential figure in the team, over and above what he brings on the field.
While Schweinsteiger achieved his legacy at Bayern, Yaya gave his best years to City and his contribution to the history of the club is second to none. This makes it easier to plead for a better treatment of Yaya than it is for Shweini. We have the City fans in our side after all and that is power right there, all it needs is someone to tap right into into.
Over and above what he’s done for Man City, he’s also one Africa’s greatest ever exports and he carried our continent at a time when we had no one at the highest level. As the mighty powers of Samuel Etoo and Didier Drogba waned off with no one willing to take the buton, Yaya stepped up his game and carried us all by himself. For 5 years he proved the reference point for our African brothers at the highest level.
For that we owe him big time.
But our media and legends have failed him. We have failed to protect him against Guardiola at the one time he needed us.
Just like we failed to protect Caster Semenya against the western media and forced her to do it all by herself, we are doing the same with Yaya.
Comparing the Yaya/Bastian situations, we are failing an easier test when we have all the tools to pass. We missed our biggest chance to advocate for his return when City were losing games left and right. But we should not wait for the crises to plead for him to be treated with the respect and fairness that he deserves.
But I doubt we’ll see any change in our media anytime soon. Right now I have more questions than answers.
Questions like : when will our media stop just being relayers of information and start using our influence our benefit? When will our sports journalism stop being “he said/she said” reporters? How is the world supposed to take us seriously when we can’t even take care of our selves? Is our sports journalism ready to break out of the shadow of it’s political counterparts? And when will our sports journalists step up and question the status quo like our students and doing via #FeesMustFall and the political journalists have continually done throughout the years?
There are no guarantees that Pep would have listened to our cries but there was no guarantee that Mourinho would submit to the Germany pressure as well. Until we try and try as best as we can, we will never know and will never be taken seriously.
NB : a shorter version of this this first appeared on Soccerladuma.co.za