After years of debate and reflection, the Beninese Football Federation adopted a new nickname for the national team on Saturday. Beninese say goodbye to “Squirrels”, deemed unimpressive.
The Beninese will now be nicknamed the “Cheetahs” during the next African Cup, scheduled for January 2024 in Côte d’Ivoire.
The announcement was made on Saturday August 20 in the wake of the re-election of Mathurin de Chacus as head of the federation.
The nickname of “Squirrels” proudly carried by the selection of Benin since the 1970s often lent itself to teasing or mockery.
This era is over since the president of the Beninese Football Federation (FBF) endorsed the change of nickname of the national team to that of “Cheetahs”.
“We have already sent a letter to our guardianship to ask for permission to change the name of the national team. From that day, there will be no more Squirrels in Benin as far as football is concerned. From that day on, our footballers will be called Cheetahs,” he said in an interview with Jocelyne Senanhoun, journalist from the Benin Radio and Television Office (ORTB).
The nickname “Squirrels” was suggested by Norbert Imbs, the first president of the federation (1970-1973). He found that the players are certainly small build but smart, skilful and fast. In short, not very imposing animals, but capable of climbing high in the hierarchy of African football.
However, the authorities have not yet given further details about the new name “Cheetahs”.