|Boateng brothers courtesy of Story Behind the Scene|
Jerome Boateng has four tattoos. One of them, on his right forearm, consists of the word "Agyenim" and runs all the way from just above his wrist to his elbow. It is his middle name and means "the Great One" in Ashanti-Twi, the language of his father, who comes from Ghana. The 21-year old, whose mother is from Berlin, is a defender for the German national soccer team.
Jerome has never been to Ghana, and yet he somehow feels connected to the African country, though he can't quite explain why. He likes to listen to music from Ghana, because it sounds cheerful, and he has a few Ghanaian friends. "But it was clear to me early on that I only wanted to play for Germany."
Kevin-Prince Boateng has 13 tattoos. One of them, on his right upper arm, depicts a skull and four aces, with the words "The World Is Yours" in English.
Kevin-Prince is Jerome's half-brother. They have the same father. He too is a professional football player, but he prefers music by German rapper Bushido, whose songs are about whores and anal sex. His mother's name is Christine, and through her he is related to legendary football player Helmut Rahn. Known as "The Boss," Kevin-Prince's great-uncle scored the winning goal for Germany in the final of the 1954 World Cup.
Like Jerome, Kevin-Prince was born in Berlin. Most of what he knows about Ghana, his father's country, comes from stories he has heard. Nevertheless, he says: "I'm proud to be an African."
The 23-year-old is hoping to play for the Black Stars, Ghana's national team. He has applied for a Ghanaian passport, which is only a formality at this point. The Ghana Football Association is depending on him to be a member of its team when it heads to South Africa for the World Cup in June.Aside from Kevin-Prince's questionable taste in German hip hop, as the parent to a mixed child, the story of the Boateng brothers relationship to their African heritage and their German heritage as expressed through their choice of national team play, was fascinating to behold. While both are proud to be African, the choice of playing for either Africa or Germany, was tied both to each brother's particular sense of cultural place/belonging and plain old competitive spirit:
Before the U21 European championship in Sweden, the team went to a training camp on Tegernsee, a lake near Munich. One player still had to be eliminated. The decision was up to the team council. One of the players who was there, but doesn't want to be identified, says: "Kevin was picked because he had been late for meetings several times. The idea was: Someone who's that unreliable jeopardizes the entire project. If you want to win the title, you can't have anyone stepping out of line. Besides, he was injured."
When Kevin-Prince found out, he burst into tears. His half-brother tried to console him. Germany won the championship, and Jerome excelled. Matthias Sammer, the sports director of the German Football Association, puts it this way: "A lack of discipline and egotism can be discerned in Kevin-Prince. When it comes to his athletic and mental constitution, Jerome is the stronger player." In other words one brother is a good fit for Germany, while the other is not.
|Jerome & Kevin-Prince Boateng|
Courtesy of The Spoiler.uk