Gareth Bale recently joined Real Madrid from Tottenham Hotspur on a world record deal worth more than £85 million. That is an equivalent of over a whooping Ksh 10 billion. There’s no footballer in history who has ever been sold for such an astronomic amount. That is however not what this post is all about but Bale’s nationality is.

A friend of mine, who is a journalist, recently posted on Facebook that Bale is an English footballer. True to my natural irresistible instincts, I felt the urge to correct him that Bale is not English but Welsh. I did exactly that but he disagreed and insisted that he was right, and I was wrong. Well, big ego I guess.

Later on, I saw a certain ‘big wig’ tweeting and arguing that Welsh
are English and Wales is in England. I was totally embarrassed by such level of ignorance. It makes me want to cry. I mean, didn’t these guys read Geography? It has come to my attention that many people don’t know the difference between England, Britain, Wales, UK and the like. If you’re among the ignorant lot, read on. Wait, get an Atlas first. This is a Geography lesson.

Bale is British. Bale is Welsh. Bale is from Britain. Bale is from Wales. But he is not English. Are you confused? Well, its easy. Wales is a country in Britain, but it’s not an independent nation. Britain, or Great Britain, consists of England, Scotland and Wales. So in short, the English are British, the Scots are British and the Welsh are British. But the Welsh are not English. Bale, born in Wales, was playing in the English Premier League, and that’s perhaps the only connection he has with England.

Wales, Scotland and England have separate football leagues and federations. In fact, their national teams compete separately in UEFA and FIFA competitions like the World Cup and also in the Commonwealth Games and Rugby tournaments. However, they usually form one team (Great Britain) for the Olympics and other athletics events. It’s also noteworthy that clubs from Wales can play in English leagues for example Swansea and Cardiff City in the current Premier League season.

The United Kingdom (UK) is a larger political state that consists of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, with it’s capital in London, England. Cardiff is the Welsh capital. Queen Elizabeth is the Head of State of the UK and there is a Prime Minister who is Head of Government. However, England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland have their own devolved governments, parliaments, languages, culture, flags and anthems but they are all subjects of Her Majesty the Queen.

In history lessons, we learn that Kenya was colonised by the British. This there fore means that we were actually colonised by England, Scotland, Wales and N.Ireland combined. Bale plays for the Wales national team but can also play for the British team at the Olympics, just like the legendary Ryan Giggs did at the London Olympics in 2012. Another notable Welsh player is Arsenal’s Aaron Ramsey.