When will we ever see an African team in the final of a World Cup?

2014-07-04 12:18

Zareef Minty: African teams at the World Cup

With the 2014 FIFA Soccer World Cup concluding within the next few days, I have to admit that it was a world cup that was filled with surprises, looking at how well Chile, Costa Rica and Colombia did says a lot about the general standard of football around the world. Smaller teams are growing in quality and that makes the World Cup open to anyone. However one thing seems like it will never change and that is the performances of African teams at the World Cup.

My problem with African teams has nothing to do with quality or the lack thereof, looking at Ivory Coast; most of their players come from the best clubs leagues in the world so that isn’t really an issue. The problem with African teams is this every man for himself attitude, we saw it with Eto’o and again with Drogba. I don’t know if this is an African issue, but personal enrichment is seen as more important than representing your country at a world class sporting event. I find it ridiculous that players refused to play unless the government of that specific country transports a few million dollars to cover wage demands. It really makes sense why we struggle as a continent, if our main aim at a World Cup is to either get paid in abundance or perform so well individually to guarantee a new contract at club level that success for the nation and team play has no standing.

Cameroon has allegedly match fixed the Croatia result and if found guilty that is extremely disappointing and disrespectful, I hope the country reject those 7 individuals that are charged with match fixing, they should make sure that they never see another soccer pitch in their lives.

If only these world class African players would put in the same effort and have the same desires they have at club level when they get to the World Cup we might be able to see an African country win the World Cup within the next 20 years, having a chat with Liverpool great John Barnes, he agrees with my opinion on African countries. “If you look at the African players, they are playing in top teams in Europe, they have to come back and help their country to do well.”

Nigeria too, missed a training session over a bonus dispute. Almost unforgiveable. But let's not despair either, and let's remember the positives. I watched a re-run of their game against France. They were excellent and unlucky. The tackling of Pogba and Matudi in the French midfield that day crossed a line. Neither should have stayed on the pitch.

Stephen Keshi had created history becoming the first African coach to lead a team to the knockout stage. We should celebrate that, as some bemoan him stepping down after many months of turbulence with his country's FA. People anticipate him to take up the vacant South Africa job, I think he will do a great job in South Africa, he is a technical genius.

I really wish there was a quick fix when it comes to the underperformance of African teams, I just wish we could send one team to the World Cup that represents the whole of the continent, look into a very large pool of players, pick the best 23 players and send them to Russia in 2018. I know that’s just wishful thinking, so we really need to raise our expectations of African teams and remove all these internal issues long in advance before any major tournament.

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