Benin’s national football team will no longer be called the Squirrels. The national eleven is now called the Cheetahs. The executive board of the Beninese Football Federation (FBF) made it official after the re-election of Mathurin de Chacus at the head of the body on Saturday 20 August 2022 in Porto-Novo. The change of the nickname Squirrels is indeed the result of a long process that started in 2008.
The famous rodent “Squirrel” is no longer the symbol of the Benin national football team. This is how the officials of the Beninese Football Federation (FBF) decided to give a new image to this sport. And in the quest to have a competitive team with a much more expressive nickname, they opted for the Cheetahs.
The cheetah, a feline characterised by exceptional top speed.
Mainly found in Africa and Western Asia, the cheetah is the fastest land animal in the world. Its top speed can reach almost 112km/h and its stride can reach 8 metres. The cheetah has a slender and slender appearance, with long slender legs, and a face with a short muzzle marked by two black marks from the eyes.
2022, the year of concrete decisions and the realisation of a great ambition.
Since 2008 when the FBF had suggested changing the name of the national football team, it was finally at the end of February 2022 that the plan really took shape. Everything was set in motion by the leadership of the body and a broad consultation was to take place to choose a new qualifier for the Beninese players. At the time, the FBF had already insisted on the evocative nature of the proposed nickname.
But it was not until Saturday 20 August, when Mathurin de Chacus was re-elected as head of the FBF, that the process was almost completed. “I can confirm this. We are already going to send a letter to our minister to ask for authorization to change the name of the national team. From today, there will be no more Squirrels in Benin at the level of football. From now on, our footballers will be called Cheetahs”, said the president of the FBF.
As a reminder, the nicknames “Python” and “Ratel” had been proposed by some before the nickname “Cheetah” was adopted by the FBF. Many citizens are therefore hoping that football in Benin will take off again and that the national team’s footballers will make people dream, just like their new symbol, the Cheetahs.