Anorak | Fabrice Muamba turns from sponging black immigrant to footballing hero

Fabrice Muamba turns from sponging black immigrant to footballing hero

by | 18th, March 2012

FABRICE Muamba is the Bolton Wanderers footballer who stopped breathing on the pitch during his team’s FA Cup match with Spurs yesterday afternoon. Once upon a time he might have been the tabloid’s black immigrant, the son of an asylum-seeking African. But the tabloids have changed their view of him. (Not everyone has seen the light twitter, as @LiamStacey showed us, is a haven for bigotry and spite .)

Firstly, how do the newspapers report on the horror?

The front pages are an escalation of Mumaba’s abilities:

Telegraph (front page): “FA Cup tie abandoned after footballer fights for life”

Express (front page): Premirship footballer, 23, fights for life after collapse”


Mail (front page): Horror as top football star collapses in live TV game”

The Star (front page): “Prem hero moments from death”

From footballer to hero, Muamba, formerly of Arsenal and Birmingham City, is changed.

The other question is whether or not to show photographs of Muamba?

The Sun does not. The Mirror  pixelates his face. The Mail does. The Telegraph does.

As for Fabrice Mumaba, his story is extraordinary and his life and drive exceptional:

Jonathan Liew in the Telegraph :

Muamba is a man who has had to fight battles everywhere he goes, who made it from the bullet-flecked battlefields of Zaire to the pristine pitches of the Premier League  through hard graft.

It was a life that began in Kinshasa, the capital of Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of Congo). Muamba’s childhood as one of four siblings living in a flat in the city was one marked by bloody civil war that engulfed the country throughout the 1990s, played out to the rhythms of gunfire. “It stopped us going out to play football, because we were scared we would get killed. One or two of my friends were hurt,” he said.

The civil wars in the Congo are believed by many to have been the deadliest conflict anywhere in the world since World War Two. An estimated 5.4 million lost their lives, and it was only through a combination of foresight and luck that the Muamba family did not join them. Father Claude was an adviser to the prime minister Kengo Wa Dondo, who was forced to flee the country after rebel forces began to close in on the capital.

One morning, Claude woke up Fabrice and told him he was going out. In fact, he was on his way to Britain, where he intended to seek political asylum.

It was not until December 1999 when the rest of the family, including Fabrice, were able to join him in London. In the meantime his uncle Ilunga had died in the conflict, a loss Fabrice still struggles to talk about

In 2008 Muamba spoke to the  Daily Mail  – the paper that yelled : Immigration soared by 20% last year making a mockery of Government pledge to bring it DOWN.”

As  Left Foot Forward  nboted, that was bollocks. The headline-making “immigration” was net migration:
Indeed, far from increasing by 21%, the  rise in the number of immigrants coming to the UK rose by 1.4% between 2009 and 2010.
The Press Complaints Commission advice when reporting on  refugees and asylum

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Posted: 18th, March 2012 | In: Key Posts, Sports Comments (2) | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed: RSS 2.0 | TrackBack | Permalink

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  • td

    Muamba comes from a family with a strong work ethic so of course he’s going to do well. Let’s hope he recovers soon!

  • The press is so opportunistic…