We reached peak CONCACAF last night, things cannot get more CONCACAFy. The nation of French Guiana, which is not in France though its players can only represent the European country, is a part of South America, though it manages to be represented in CONCACAF by virtue of being a Caribbean nation according to the FIFA map makers -although the country’s national team cannot play in the World Cup, because they are French - forfeited a game last night because they played a French player.
The only things I know about French Guiana are that it is where France launches its space rockets from while severely neglecting the infrastructure in a type of post-colonial techxploitation, and that it is next to Suriname, a place I once read was renowned for frequent choke and rob attacks near its airport.
Last night I learned something new about French Guiana in an episode that sheds light on the silliness of international player eligibility and the fragility and flimsy grounding that FIFA rules are written on. As summarized by Brian Straus, Florent Malouda a French Guianan who represented France 80 times internationally was permitted to play in a CONCACAF tournament. Last month he represented French Guiana in the Caribbean Cup. This month he was ruled ineligible to play for French Guiana in the CONCACAF Gold Cup.
Since this is FIFA, and nothing makes sense except for corruption and the facade of change, and this is CONCACAF, and less than nothing makes sense except for maintaining the facade of credibility for a tournament that is held biannually to grub up money for the federation, everything turned into a real boondoggle.
The federation follows FIFA regulations for player eligibility in the Gold Cup, but not somehow in the Caribbean Cup, and ruled that since Malouda played for France he would not be eligible to play for French Guiana (again, a country FIFA does not recognize as an official member because it is a Directorate of France). French Guiana cranked up the CONCACAF and decided that they do not care. After learning they would forfeit the match with Honduras last night if they played Malouda, the team started him.
More surprisingly, the game ended in a draw. I don’t know how this game didn’t devolve into some meeting of the Juggalos type craziness. I fully expected Honduras to say “whoop, whoop!” and play a 1-10 formation and have this be the highest scoring game ever played. We didn’t get any of that, a game that had a forgone conclusion no matter what the result on the field was didn’t have a single moment of excitement or anything happen in it to make it worth watching. The Honduras goalie was the man of the match there was such little taking place on the field.
In sum, French Guiana is a magical country, it manages to be in France, CONCACAF, and South America all at the same time according to FIFA. CONCACAF is even more magical, it manages to host international soccer tournaments with teams that FIFA doesn’t recognize under FIFA rules. The entire episode was like the film Inception except in the CONCACAF version someone would have embezzled the spinning top with impunity so that the ending would be clear.