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?
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Patrick Mboma, a former striker who played for Cameroon when they won Olympic gold in 2000, bemoaned the lack of investment in youth development. “We need to give young boys a chance to develop their talents,” says Mr. Mboma, who is in South Africa to promote 1Goal, a global campaign for education.Skip to next paragraph
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Few African countries have proper academies and most talented teenagers move to European clubs at a young age. Local leagues tend to be poorly organized and badly funded, attracting few fans and with players often going unpaid. They also face competition from European leagues, particularly the English Premier League, which are beamed into bars and homes across Africa every weekend. Fans from Dar es Salaam to Douala tend to prefer to watch European football on television rather than a national league match at the stadium.
The vast majority of African players at this World Cup play for teams in Europe. While that may have given them access to better coaches and facilities it has adversely affected the way they play, Wokabi argues. “When you take all the talent away from Africa you are killing the African flair. We used to have great creative players but the current African teams all pass the ball sideways. You can’t beat the Europeans at their game.”
Three of the six coaches of African teams have already indicated they will leave after the World Cup. If African teams are to match their potential at the 2014 tournament in Brazil, football associations should start planning now.
World Cup 101:
- World Cup 101: How does the tournament work?
- World Cup 101: Why is the World Cup such a big deal?
- World Cup 101: Why is the World Cup in South Africa?
- World Cup 101: Is South Africa really prepared to host the World Cup?
- World Cup 101: Who’s favored to win it all?