The 2018 FIFA World Cup kicks off in Russia on Thursday, June 14 and we look back at seven of the best theme songs of the football tournament.
The World Cup which holds once every four years is one of the most viewed and followed events in the world, and this year’s edition will not offer anything less.
Every edition is synonymous with a wide range of songs and anthems created in celebration of the event and there is also the case of the official world cup song and performances that grace the opening and closing days of the competition.
Since the tournament started in 1930, there have been volumes of World Cup songs, but we have selected seven of the very best ahead of the opening ceremony holding this afternoon.
1. K’Naan – ‘Waving Flag’
K’Naan is a Canadian based, Somalian artiste, who originally wrote the song in 2009 as a dedication to his home country, Somalia.
After the Haiti earthquake in 2010, the song was reworked into a charity concert single by a super group of Canadian artists, which hit No 1 on the Canadian charts and helped draw notice to the original composer of the song.
But it truly became a global hit when it was selected by Coca-Cola as their official theme song for the 2010 World Cup which was held in South Africa, leading to K’Naan re-recording it in English under the title, ‘Celebration Mix’.
2. Shakira – ‘Waka Waka (This Time For Africa)’ feat. Freshlyground
Waka Waka is the official anthem for the 2010 World Cup as approved by FIFA.
The song composed by Colombian singer Shakira alongside South African group, Freshly Ground is an adaptation of the 1986 hit song, Zangalewa by Cameroonian band, Golden Sound.
Waka Waka delivered a perfect mix of Latin and African flavour that shot the song to the top of the charts across the world.
3. il Divo – ‘The Time Of Our Lives’ feat. Toni Braxton
The official song of the 2006 World Cup in Germany as performed by UK Classical group, il Divo which comprises of singers, Urs Buhler, Carlos Marin, David Miller and Sebastien Izambard team up with American singer Toni Braxton in one of the most epic recordings at the World Cup.
4. R. Kelly – ‘Sign Of A Victory’
Every World Cup usually features as much as three or more recognized theme songs chosen by both the organizers and the sponsors and ‘Sign Of A Victory’ is another theme song for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, performed a day before the opening ceremony.
R Kelly alongside the Soweto Spiritual Singers put together this single that is reminiscent of the pop star’s 1996 classic song, I Believe I Can Fly.
5. Akon – ‘Oh Africa’ feat. Keri Hilson
Originally release to support a charity event for underprivileged children in Africa early in 2010 for Akon’s charity Konfidence.
6. Pitbull – ‘Game On’ feat. TKZee and Dario G
The 2010 World Cup in South Africa was the first on the continent and as such it witnessed a proper spectacle of songs and performances.
The official mascot for the tournament, Zakumi had its own theme song as performed by Cuban-US artist Pitbull, South African group, TKZee and produced by UK dance producer, Dario G.
7. Pitbull – ‘We Are One (Ole Ole)’ feat. Jennifer Lopez and Claudia Leitte
We Are One is the official anthem of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
The song featured Cuban-US rapper Pitbull, American singer, Jennifer Lopez and Brazilian singer Claudia Leitte.
The trio performed the song at the opening ceremony of the World Cup on June 12.