Benin Republic Football Federation has decided to change its nickname from the Squirrels to the Cheetahs, according to former international Emmanuel Imorou. According to the BBC, the decision to switch nicknames is waiting for approval from the Benin Republic government. Imorou noted that one of the reasons the federation considered a change was as a result of opponents not getting scared when they hear squirrels.
A change in nickname was previously considered in 2008 and also in 2018, when ex-Huddersfield Town striker Steve Mounie offered his suggestion of the Pythons.
But now a switch looks set to finally happen, after re-elected Benin Football Federation president Mathurin de Chacus announced his intention for the side to become the Guepards (Cheetahs).
Imorou was part of the Benin squad which reached the quarter-finals at the 2019 Nations Cup, and says their nickname was discussed when he was playing.
Many Africa Football Federations derived their nicknames from the animal kingdom such as Nigeria male team referred to as the Super Eagles, Cameroon as Indomitable Lions, Ivory Coast as the Elephant etc.
Imorou to BBC said:
“Calling us the Squirrels was not really scary for our opponents,”
“Cheetahs are feared, but are also classy animals with some charisma.”
“I really like it. I didn’t heard from my ex-team-mates yet, but I think that we have the same opinion on this.”
“When we see our opponents being called the Lions or the Elephants, we thought it would be good to have a name that is a bit more scary,” the former Chateauroux, Clermont and Caen left-back said.
“If you manage to come up with a new nice logo, one that emits what Cheetahs emit; class, fear, and speed – those are the first things that come to my mind – we’re off to a good start,” he said.
“Saying that our opponents will get on the pitch with their legs shaking, I’m not so sure!”