World Cup: Ghana win over USA one of few bright spots for Africa
Ghana's victory over the USA yesterday has lifted a continent sorely disappointed with its performance in this World Cup. Why didn't great teams from Nigeria and Cameroon do better?
Johannesburg, South Africa
When the World Cup trophy was handed over to South Africa’s president, Jacob Zuma, at the draw for the finals in Cape Town last December, he joked that it would be staying on the continent after the tournament was over. Aside from politicians searching for soundbites, few on the continent believed an African team would win the World Cup. But nor did many expect that five of Africa’s six representatives would crash out in the first round.Skip to next paragraph
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Ghana’s achievement in reaching the quarterfinals by beating the US, which matches Cameroon in 1990 and Senegal in 2002, does not mask the sense of disappointment that Africa has missed an opportunity.
Each of the five teams who failed to shine have their own reasons, from the infighting that blighted Cameroon’s campaign to the difficult draw which made Ivory Coast’s progress all but impossible. But many African football experts have put the blame on a combination of poor planning and a lack of investment in youth development.
“It’s all about organization and planning,” says James Wokabi, a Kenyan football commentator for Supersport, the pan-African satellite broadcaster which has been screening the World Cup. Four of the six teams have changed their coach in the last nine months. “Ivory Coast had a coach who did not know his team. He met them in May. The same for Nigeria. It took him two games to figure out who to play but then it was too late. Ghana is the only team that has had the same coach for the last two and a half years. They had a proper plan.”