Sport
Belgium v Russia: match previewPublish Date: Jun 22, 2014
Belgium v Russia: match preview
  • mail
  • img
Belgium takes on Russia later today at 7pm local time
newvision

By Fred Kaweesi in Rio de Janeiro

Belgium v Russia (Today at 7pm Ugandan time)

East Africa has a relatively strong representation at the 2014 FIFA World Cup here.


There are not only three assistant referees Felecien Kabanda (Rwanda), Aden Marwa (Kenya) and Birumushahu Jean Claude (Burundi) officiating at this football spectacle, Uganda’s neighboring football rivals Kenya also have a playing ‘ambassador’ in Divock Origi.

Origi has become something of a sensation at Belgium’s base at Mogi das Cruzes, near Sao Paulo.

Following his impressive World Cup debut against Algeria, Belgium fans, international media and scouts are all of a sudden interested in the 19-year-old, born to a former Kenyan international Mike Okoth but representing Belgium.

Origi, who was raised in Belgium, has seen his profile rise in the last one year.

He is just the latest in a long list of players to benefit from new FIFA eligibility laws which allow players without a senior cap to switch allegiances at any age.

The ratification of the amendment came in 2009, and Africa has, in general, been the ultimate beneficiary of the rule change. Nations around the continent have collected forgotten talents from various dusty European repositories.

Apart from Origi, the likes of Younes Belhanda, Adel Taarabt, Victor Moses, Kevin-Prince Boateng, Shola Ameobi and Adnan Januzaj are but a few that have decided to represent their respective countries of origin.


Belgium's midfielder Marouane Fellaini scored his team's first goal when they played Algeria. PHOTO/AFP

It is indeed interesting how national federations are now bartering and haggling in attempts to convince bi-nationals where their best options lay away from club football.

Belgium are among the strong beneficiaries and will care less if Origi performs in this championship.

When Origi came on as a substitute for Romelu Lukaku against Algeria with Belgium 1-0 down, Belgium fans here were surprised that Origi was even part of Marc Wilmots’s 23-man squad.

Some wondered why Wilmots, would even consider him coming on to rescue their country’s cause.

But it didn’t take Origi long to defy critics from his adopted country.

His 30-minute cameo on the pitch against Algeria proved all his qualities as Belgium fought back for a 2-1 win.

Origi has long legs and powerful physique. His size makes him a handful for defenders.

He is also intelligent as his involvement in Belgium’s second goal proved.

When Eden Hazard turned and advanced towards the Algeria penalty area, Origi made a great run from the right to the left. He drew an Algerian defender with him, allowing Dries Mertens extra few yards of space to fire Belgium’s second goal and complete the come-back.

His price tag will continue to rise and rise if he can inspire Belgium to their second Group H win over Russia at the Maracana Stadium today.

Kompany sat out his team’s training session on Thursday due to a groin injury.

“No Vincent Kompany at training today, slight strain on the groin. He worked individually with medical staff,” tweeted Wilmots without giving an indication whether the Manchester City defender will play.


Russia's forward Alexander Kerzhakov scored the 1-1 goal against South Korea. PHOTO/AFP

On Wednesday, Eden Hazard was also sent for a scan after suffering a bruised toe.

That said, with such a talented squad, Belgium have every right to feel confident of matching the exploits of their 1986 team that reached the semi-final stage before losing to Diego Maradona’s Argentina.

Tight security

The build-up to this game has attracted heavy security detail after ticketless Chilean fans breached security during their game against Spain.

More security personnel has been deployed around the stadium’s perimeter walls.

Over 50 Chilean fans were arrested after knocking down protective barriers and rushing through the stadium’s halls and press center in an attempt to find a way into the stands.

The arrested fans were briefly held and then released and given 72 hours to leave Brazil or face forced deportation.

The statements, comments, or opinions expressed through the use of New Vision Online are those of their respective authors, who are solely responsible for them, and do not necessarily represent the views held by the staff and management of New Vision Online.

New Vision Online reserves the right to moderate, publish or delete a post without warning or consultation with the author.Find out why we moderate comments. For any questions please contact digital@newvision.co.ug

  • mail
  • img
blog comments powered by Disqus
Also In This Section
Africa Cup of Nations qualifying fixtures
Africa Cup of Nations third round, second leg qualifying fixtures this weekend....
Rwandans rile FUFA with abrupt changes
The Uganda Cubs were forced to embark on the journey to Rwanda earlier than planned after Federation of Rwanda Football Associations (FERWAFA) rescheduled their Africa Under-17 Championship qualifier for Friday instead of Saturday....
SC Villa fans in party mood
Sports Club Villa fans appear to be thrilled by the forthcoming elections and they are planning for a party....
Uganda players depart Thursday for Olympiad
Uganda’s National Chess team comprising of ten players including five women and five men have all secured Norwegian visas and return tickets to Norway....
Boxing back to medal winning ways
Uganda is assured at least of another medal after Mike Sekabembe made it to the semi-finals of the Commonwealth Games boxing competition at the SECC Hall on Tuesday evening...
Uganda staggers in table tennis
Kevin Mafabi put up a spirited fight against New Zealand’s Philip Xiao in the men’s single table tennis championships, though losing 4-2 in the Commonwealth Games action at Scotstoun Sports centre in Glasgow Tuesday evening....
Should private schools and institutions be given tax exemption?
Yes
No
Can't Say
follow us
subscribe to our news letter