African tragedy looms

2010-06-23 08:56

It would be a big tragedy if none of the six African countries

qualified for the 2010 Fifa World Cup last 16.

This is according to Nigerian Football Federation (NFF) secretary

general Bolaji Ojo-Oba, who said: “It’s still early as the final round matches

of the first round have just started.

I still have hope an I am banking on Ghana

to proceed to the next round but it will be a tragedy if none of the six

countries fail to proceed.”

He spoke to City Press in an interview after Nigeria bowed out of

the competition following a two-all draw against Korea Republic.

The Super Eagles were knocked out of the competition on the same

day as Bafana Bafana, who failed to proceed to the next round despite a 2-1

victory over France earlier in the day.

A scenario where there are no African countries in the second round

of the World Cup will not only create an embarrassing situation but might have

serious repercussions for the continent.

This is the first time Africa has half-a-dozen countries contesting

this tournament, thanks to the tournament being hosted by South Africa on the


Fifa’s flexibility in allowing six instead of the usual five

countries from this continent and the hope that the countries would do well on

home soil had raised hopes that the world football governing body might increase

the number of African representatives going forward.

Meanwhile, Nwankwo Kanu who saw his English Premiership side

Portsmouth being relegated, said he didn’t view being part of a star-studded

Nigerian side that gets knocked out in the first round of the World Cup as a

tragedy nor a disaster.

“Life goes on,” he said. “I have been through worse.

There was a

time when people said I will never play football again when I was diagnosed with

a serious heart condition.

But I came out of hospital and continued


He said as a person who believes in God, nothing was impossible:

“I’m a father with two kids.

I am going home to my wife and kids and will take

it from there and see what the future holds for me.”

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