DOHA, Qatar (AP) — Joy for the Williams family of Spain on Wednesday at the World Cup. Don’t be discouraged for the Williams family, also from Ghana, who will be reuniting on Thursday.
Williams brothers Iñaki and Nico have managed to mark both sides of their family’s heritage in a remarkable way at this World Cup in Qatar by playing for two different countries. Both were born in Spain, but their parents are from Ghana.
Nico was part Young Spain team beats Costa Rica 7-0 Wednesday’s performance was the tournament’s most dramatic. He was a substitute in the second half and made his World Cup debut in Spain’s historic win.
A day later, big brother Iñaki played his first World Cup game for Ghana, Portugal and Cristiano Ronaldo were defeated 3-2.
That meant a complicated 24 hours in the family home back in Spain with celebrations for 20-year-old Nico no doubt swiftly followed by commiserations for 28-year-old Iñaki. The two brothers felt the same, Ghana coach Otto Addo stating that they both feel Spanish as they do Ghanaian.
“I know that they both have a good strong relationship with their mother and their fatherland,” was how Addo put it.
Because of his love for his parents’ country, Iñaki’s integration into the Ghana team has been very easy, Addo added, even if he was born in Bilbao and raised in the Basque region.
Iñaki, a forward just like Nico, played the whole game for Ghana against Portugal and stood in the center circle at Stadium 974 in Doha at the end with his hands on his head and looking bitterly disappointed with the loss.
“Maybe for some it’s difficult to understand but I think it’s really possible to have two countries in your heart,” Addo said of Iñaki. “And surely he has Ghana in his heart from day one. But also Spain.”
The Story behind the situation Their parents’ decision to move to Europe nearly 30 years ago, to better their lives, is what it involves.
Felix and Maria Williams never imagined they would have two sons at the World Cup. They trekked barefoot through deserts and climbed fences to get into Spain in early 1990s. Maria was pregnant with Iñaki at the time.
Both boys settled in Bilbao where they became soccer players. They still play club soccer together for the hometown team Athletic Bilbao.
The brothers’ careers have always been connected, even after Iñaki decided this year to switch allegiance to Ghana and go back to his roots. This was not the first occasion they played for two countries in 24 hours.
Iñaki made his debut for Ghana on Sept. 23 this year against Brazil. A day later, Nico made his debut for Spain against Switzerland.
AP World Cup coverage: https://apnews.com/hub/world-cup and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports