Cup lifts Africa to dizzy heights

2010-12-22 08:46

African football scaled dizzy heights this year as it staged the World Cup tournament for the first time and received international acclaim.

Fifa president Sepp Blatter gave South Africa nine out of 10 in his post-championship report card with security and infrastructure fears proving unfounded.

South Africa had been at the receiving end of a sustained negative overseas media campaign for several years with assurances from officials that preparations were on track continuously ignored.

But the hosts had the last laugh on Friday June 11 as warm mid-afternoon sunshine bathed the capacity 90 000 Johannesburg crowd and a vibrant opening ceremony preceded a 1-1 draw between South Africa and Mexico.

While Africa displayed top-drawer organisational skills, there was less joy on the pitch with South Africa, Algeria, Cameroon, Ivory Coast and Nigeria eliminated after the first round.

Ghana were the sole African survivors of the mini-league cull, and they cut it fine with goal difference earning them a last-16 position at the expense of Australia.

Striker Asamoah Gyan unleashed the extra-time drive which floored the United States only to fire a penalty over via the crossbar that left Uruguay off the hook and the South Americans reached the semifinals after a shootout.

So a Black Stars side lacking injured midfield enforcer Michael Essien from English champions Chelsea made a quarter-finals exit – the same stage at which Cameroon (1990) and Senegal (2002) departed the World Cup.

Cameroon were the biggest disappointment in 2010, losing their three group matches amid bickering between players over team selections, and the captaincy of star striker Samuel Eto’o left much to be desired.

But the clinical finishing of Eto’o for world, European and Italian champions Inter Milan earned him a record fourth African Footballer of the Year title ahead of Gyan and Ivory Coast skipper Didier Drogba.

Democratic Republic of the Congo club Tout Puissant Mazembe ended the decade-old stranglehold of Europe and South America over the Fifa Club World Cup by shocking Internactional of Brazil before losing the Abu Dhabi final to Inter.

Finishing runners-up marked an amazing improvement for the “Crows” from the copper mining hub of Lubumbashi after losing to minnows Auckland City of New Zealand last year and coming second last in a seven-strong field.

Mazembe qualified for the world championship after becoming the first team to twice successfully defend the African Champions League --whipping Tunisian outfit Esperance 6-1 on aggregate in a surprisingly one-sided final.

Egypt also entered the record books by becoming the first country to win three consecutive Africa Cup of Nations titles courtesy of a late 1-0 victory over Ghana in Angola.

The tournament unearthed a new star in Mohamed “Geddo” Nagy, who wily “Pharaohs” coach Hassan Shehata repeatedly unleashed as a second-half “super sub” and finished leading scorer with five goals.

But the exploits of Egypt and Geddo were overshadowed by a pre-tournament gun attack on the Togo team coach as it entered the restive Angolan enclave of Cabinda and an assistant coach and an official were killed.

Another low point for Africa was the suspension of Fifa executive committee member Amos Adamu from Nigeria after being trapped in a London Sunday Times “sting” ahead of voting to decide the 2018 and 2022 World Cup hosts.

Adamu, touted in some media circles as a potential successor to ageing CAF president Issa Hayatou, allegedly offered to sell his vote in return for cash and Fifa reacted with a three-year ban from all football activities.

Fifa committee members Amadou Diakite of Mali and Slim Aloulou of Tunisia and former CAF official Ismael Bhamjee of Botswana were suspended for between two and four years for allegedly advising how to bribe.

The embarrassment to Hayatou did not end there with court evidence implicating the Zimbabwe national team in match-fixing on tours to Asia and a fake Togo team playing an international in Bahrain.

And refereeing standards remain problematic with Ghanaian Joseph Lamptey awarding a Champions League semi-final goal scored with an outstretched arm that took Esperance to the final at the expense of Egyptian visitors Al-Ahly.

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/Sport

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
Traffic
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.