When Kariobangi Sharks midfielder Sven Yidah celebrated his converted spot kick in the SportPesa Cup semi-final shootout win over Mbao FC last month by feigning injury to his hamstring immediately after taking the kick, he did not know that it would become a viral trend one that would be mimicked by some of the world’s best players.
On Saturday 16 February in the French top division Ligue 1 Marseille overcame Amiens 2-0 at their Stade Valedrome, a result that would not be in the headlines this side of the Sahara if not for the goal celebrations of Florian Thauvin and Mario Balotelli who both scored in the win.
Word Cup winner
After scoring his 13th goal of the season to open the scoring with a low struck shot from inside the area in the 19th minute, 2018 FIFA World Cup winner Thauvin chose to take on the Yidah challenge in celebration, limping off clutching his right hamstring to the shock of many who feared the worst that their team’s top scorer had suffered injury.
But it was all in the plan and six minutes later, Italian forward Balotelli would do the same after netting his third goal in four games since joining the record 10 time French champions in January.
The celebrations sprung controversy on social media as many who had not seen Yidah’s celebration believing that the two players were mocking Edison Cavani of PSG who suffered a thigh strain earlier in the month.
But after the game the two explained the idea of the celebration came to them after they had seen Yidah’s video after their previous game against Dijon.
“We returned by bus from Dijon, so we had time to talk and to laugh a bit. We saw on Instagram the video of a player who celebrates a penalty like that,” Thauvin said.
“It made us all laugh on the bus and we said that we would do it if we scored in our next game.
“It is not at all to make the opponent believe that we are hurt, it is really a delusion between us,” he said.
The video was also shared a while back by Manchester United defender Antonio Valencia on his Instagram page as he used it to make fun of teammate Eric Bailly.
Yidah’s antics in Dar Es Salaam could be seen as the turnaround in the shootout against Mbao FC as they were trailing after Patillah Omotto had missed the opening kick. It lifted the pressure off his teammates who went on to win the shootout as well as the tournament by defeating Bandari FC 1-0 in the final to set-up a once in a lifetime opportunity to play English side Everton FC in Nairobi at a yet to be confirmed date later on in the year.
A simple celebration done without plenty of thought just like the Salt Bae phenomenon is becoming a global trend which has now catapulted Yidah and his team to unimagined heights. We now wait to see who else will take up the challenge.