Is It Time For The Rubbish World Cup

Rubbish World Cup. Credit: Image by wayhomestudio on Freepik

Paul Watson thinks it is. The brother of comedian, Mark Watson, has come up with an idea that has gained some traction in the X-sphere, which is an alternative football World Cup for the bottom 32 teams in the FIFA rankings

“Frankly, I don’t know anyone who wouldn’t want to watch this tournament,” he Tweeted. He may have a point. As a woman who’s a fully paid-up hater of football, even I could be persuaded to suffer through a Djibouti versus Mongolia match. Because, let’s face it, the upper echelons of football are just dull, dull, dull. It’s too professional, too full of snowflake diva behaviour and the gratuitous wearing of headbands. It’s too organised and there are not enough pitch invasions by pigeons or runaway dogs. 

But a rubbish World Cup? That has promise and people on X agree.

@UnitedThoughts5 Tweeted

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@benduffy13 remarked

benduffy13 tweet

@dairyasf Tweeted

dairyasf Tweet

@RichardCurtin9 said

RichardCurtin9 Tweet

Paul Watson is a man who may just have the football pedigree to realise the dream. He describes himself as once being ‘the youngest international football coach in the world (sort of).’ He’s the author of a book called Up Pohnpei which chronicles his rather extraordinary experience in the world of international football.

In 2007, in one of those blokey moments of genius, Paul and a friend decided to see if they could become international footballers by trying to join the worst-performing foreign team. After some pretty exhaustive research, they discovered that the worst-performing international team of the time was the Guam national squad. They had only beaten one non-FIFA ranking team, the Yap team (7-1) and the team Yap had won against was the Pohnpei State Football Team.

A slight wrinkle in their plans to become international players for the Pohnpei State Football Team was that it was part of the Federated States of Micronesia who, in order to play, required them to marry a local woman, learn the language and live there for 5 years. 

Not daunted, the pair pivoted their dreams a little and applied to be coaches of the Pohnpei State Football Team, an unpaid position Paul was granted, thereby making him the youngest international football coach at the time. Coaching the Pohnpei squad didn’t come without its challenges which included the players’ poor level of physical fitness, an addiction to chewing betel leaf, and a toad infestation on their football pitch.

From his international coaching debut, Paul then went to Mongolia’s capital, Ulaanbaatar to set up a new team, New Mongol Bayangol FC. A sensational first season in 2016 saw the team play 18 matches, losing 13 of them and drawing on 3. 

In 2018 Watson organised the CONIFA World Cup in London, a tournament for nations and states not recognised by FIFA. Staged in 10 non-league football clubs, the tournament gained worldwide media attention and massive public interest. The final, between Karpatalya and Northern Cyprus, was played at Enfield Town FC and got a record crowd at the ground.

The time seems to be ripe to get behind the underdogs, fly the flag for that country you’ve never heard of, and celebrate the absolute worst of international football. Surely football fans everywhere would be hoping for a draw that saw a face-off between the two Virgins.

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Written by

Emma Mitchell

Emma landed in journalism after nearly 30 years as an executive in the Internet industry. She lives in Bédar and her interests include raising one eyebrow, reckless thinking and talking to people randomly. If you have a great human interest story you can contact her on