‘No time for prayers...’

2010-07-04 12:44

Africa must realise that it is no longer time for prayers and hope

but for a clear-cut plan of how to prepare in the next four years to make an

impact at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.


This is the view of South African 2010 Fifa World Cup Local

Organising Committee (LOC) CEO Danny Jordaan.


“South Africa and the rest of Africa must now focus on a plan that

will see them invest in youth and their own coaches,” Jordaan told City Press

yesterday after Ghana’s defeat to Uruguay in the quarterfinals on Friday

evening.


“It is no longer time for praying and hoping but time for a

clear-cut plan that will run for the next four years and culminate in the

continent doing well at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.”


Jordaan pointed out that all the countries that made it to the last

eight, including Ghana, had previously done very well at junior international

level and were mostly coached by locals.


He said well-trained and suitably qualified coaches, plus

well-developed players, were the answer to the continent’s ­dilemma.


Former South African Football Association (Safa) president Molefi

Oliphant, who serves on the Confederation of African Football (Caf) executive

committee, said the fate of the continent was in the hands of the players.


“There is nothing that Caf can do. To some extent the national

associations can do very little more than appointing the right coach,” he

said.


“Once the coach has done his job, taken the players through

training, given them tactics, there is also little that he can do, as during the

match he sits on the bench and the executives watch from the pavilion.”


Oliphant said at that point it all boiled down to the 11 players on

the field.


“I must point out, though, that this time around fate played a

major role. I congratulate Ghana for getting to the quarterfinals. It is just

unfortunate that football is so unpredictable.


“It was fate which saw the player (Asamoah Gyan) who took the

penalty hitting the ball against the crossbar. This is the same player who had

already scored twice from the spot before in this tournament,” said

Oliphant.


He further pointed out that numbers sometimes counted for little as

“Europe had 13 representatives at the beginning of the tournament but are now

left with three (before yesterday’s matches involving Germany and Spain),

Conmebol are left with three out of the five which started, with Chile having

been eliminated by Brazil, Concacaf had three who are all out, and Asia’s four

have suffered the same fate.”


Ghana and the African countries’ failure to go further had once

again left the world’s greatest footballer, Pele of Brazil, with egg on his

face.


Once more, his prediction that “an African nation will win the

World Cup before the year 2000” has come back to haunt him.


This is one of many predictions which have earned him ridicule from

compatriots, with Romario once declaring “Pele is a poet when he keeps his mouth

shut”, while World Cup-winning coach Luiz Felipe Scolari quipped: “I believe

Pele knows nothing about football.

His analysis always turns out to be wrong.

If

you want to win a title you have to listen to Pele and then do the

opposite.”


Africa’s failure has led to fears that it might affect its five

slots at the event.


Fifa president Sepp Blatter has deferred the answer to that

question, however, saying the issue would be decided by the new organising

committee which will be appointed later this year.


Caf president Issa Hayatou, who currently chairs the Fifa OC, could

not be reached for comment yesterday.


By the time of going to print he had not responded to questions

emailed to Caf media officer Habuba Sulaiman.


One of the queries concerned his leadership, as many have called

for him to step down and allow in new blood.

 

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