“An African nation will win the FIFA World Cup before the end of the twentieth Century” famous quote by Brazilian legend footballer, Pele.
Realistically speaking it is not entirely impossible for an African nation to win the FIFA World Cup someday, but rather tricky to determine their win this year. Considering their home soil performance in the last World Cup, it seems impractical to expect a win but rather a reasonable prediction into the last 16 and possibly the quarter finals entry. We can safely say the semi-finals and finals may unfortunately be beyond our African teams’ reach this year, let alone winning the tournament.
To a large degree the challenge has to do with the lack of management and poor administration of African football teams in comparison to their European counterparts.
The players often go into these tournaments distracted, unhappy and with their focus on unpaid salaries, amongst other minor issues relating to mismanagement, rather than performance. Moreover, African teams are yet to do what Cameroon’s Roger Mila achieved in all three of his World Cup games where he shook the world. There was great disappointment following Ghana’s brave showing performance in the first World Cup on African soil in 2014, a strong beginning only to lose out to Uruguay and Suarez in the last hour, as well as the displayed performance by the five African representatives which lacked a spirited finish.
However, there’s still reason to be optimistic as Egypt, Nigeria and Senegal not only compete in a grouping that could work well to their advantage but also carry with them, a set of quality players that could very well take them into the last 16 and hopefully the last eight. Russia 2018 will see Africa’s best five including Egypt and Senegal who both carry Africa’s hopes of a win. The Pharaohs have the talented goal poacher, Mo Salah in their squad while Senegal brings Sadio Mane. The two Liverpool attackers will have to outperform the rest, as they carry the hopes and support of the continent with them.
Nkabinde is a junior sports journalist at the Republic Mail. Despite writing about football, his a soccer player who players amateur football at the township since he was 10.