Quirkily enough, the Boateng half-brothers, Kevin-Prince and Jerome, looked to have taken their animosity right down to the Soccer City pitch. For the 73 minutes they made World Cup history by being the first siblings to square off, the Boatengs stayed at more than an arm’s length away from each other.
Jerome, 21, had made their estrangement public after Kevin-Prince, then playing for Portsmouth, scuttled Michael Ballack’s trip to South Africa by clattering into the Germany captain in last May’s FA Cup final. The Ghetto Kid, as the older Boateng (23) calls himself, Jerome said expected a show of support from him. What transpired was a severing of ties.
Growing up in a poor Berlin suburb, the brothers have come through Germany’s youth teams. Kevin-Prince played for Germany u-21 team and opted for Ghana, after once turning them down, in the hope of greater opportunity. FIFA cleared his bid to represent the country of his father Prince’s birth just before the World Cup and Kevin-Prince debuted for the Black Stars, kitted in all whites here, in a friendly this month. One of his many tattoos visible around his meaty neck, Kevin-Prince pumped up and down in this final group D game which Germany won through a languid left-foot volley from Mesut Ozil — the man who replaced Ballack and one of the 11 members in this squad with roots in foreign lands — and both teams qualified.
He had two attempts on goal blocked but had Andre Ayew done better in the 25th minute from Asamoah Gyan’s pass, Kevin-Prince, who set that move going, could have made a more telling contribution in this game of even chances. But with Germany coach Joachim Loew saying he had instructed his right-back to not go forward, the brothers didn’t really meet.
Jerome was substituted because of a back problem, Leow said. That is just one of the injury worries Germany have ahead of Sunday’s pre-quarter final grudge tie against England. Ozil and Bastian Schweinsteiger, both substituted in the second half, too aren’t fit, Leow said.
As at two previous post-match press conferences, Ghana coach Milovan Rajevac was again asked to give an opinion on Kevin-Prince’s performance. At Rustenburg, a comment was sought from Asamoah Gyan too. Both coach and his lone striker had complimented their Boateng’s show and called him one of their own.
“Kevin-Prince played very well for us. I think his performance was excellent. It was important that he kept his cool today and I saw the Germans were polite with him. He had to avoid cautions today because we will rely on him in the next round,” Rajevac said of the midfielder who’s stepped into Michael Essien’s shoes.
His mother being related to Helmut Rahn — the architect of Germany’s first World Cup win — adds a ring to Loew’s earlier comment of Jerome being part of the family. After the match, the Germany coach too lauded Jerome for his “specific” role in the defence.
Backed by their own band of brothers, the story of Kevin-Prince and Jerome shows that blood isn’t always the thickest liquid around.
Maradona dials Mourinho for tips
Reuters adds from Pretoria: To have Jose Mourinho on your bedside table for advice seems a novel way of resolving a problem that keeps you awake at night during the World Cup.
The event is going well for Argentina but Diego Maradona said he might give new Real Madrid manager Mourinho a ring if he felt the need to discuss a tactical issue. “I like Mourinho a lot,” Maradona said of the Portuguese coach who guided Inter Milan to a treble last season. “On top of that, the way he received me, we spent hours talking about football, attacking and defensive tactics,” he said in an interview with Argentine daily La Nacion.