Africa is probably the only continent where fans support not just their country, but other countries as well, just as long as they are from Africa. In fact, Africa is probably the only one of the continents which is supported as country at major tournaments.
The continent has been blessed with a wealth of talented footballers. In the past there were players like George Weah, Roger Milla, Nwankwo Kanu and Abedi Pele, and today players like Yaya Toure, Didier Drogba, Samuel Eto’o, Michael Essien, and John Obi Mikel are giving African fans reasons to cheer their teams to glory. Barcelona, Chelsea, Manchester City, AC Milan and other European clubs have greatly benefited from the presence of African players in their clubs and have full trophy cabinets to prove that.
However, much to the dismay of supporters of their national teams, African players have never brought glory to their national teams when competing at football’s biggest stage, the World Cup. In fact, an African country has never gone past the quarter-final stages in all of the World Cups they have participated in.
There are several reasons why the World Cup has been an unobtainable goal for African teams in the past, and why this situation is likely to remain unchanged in the future as well. Here, we’ll have a look at five of those reasons.
- Socio-political factors
Africa, as a continent, is ravaged by social, religious and political conflicts. These off-field conflicts most definitely have an effect on on-field affairs, and that cannot be underestimated. It’s a well known fact that African players can’t wait to get a good offer from European clubs and leave their poor and corruption ridden work environments.
This has led to a drain in quality in domestic championships, with the best players leaving their home towns for pastures greener in some of Europe’s leagues. The situation doesn’t look like it’ll be changing anytime soon, as African football authorities seem unable to create satisfactory playing conditions for Africa’s talented youngsters.
- Corruption in football governing bodies
African football federations have always been in the centre of controversies before, during, and after major tournaments. At moments it seems like football federations in Africa care only about lining their executives’ and delegates’ pockets with money and not with their countries’ participation in tournaments. There are various bonuses being promised to players during qualifiers, but after a team qualifies for a World Cup, federations suddenly go quiet and the bonuses are nowhere to be seen.
Most of the time players stay silent about these problems, but players who play in Europe, and are used to high levels of professionalism, find these problems extremely annoying. Samuel Eto’o for example, was thrown out of Cameroon’s national team when he raised the question of bonuses not being paid to players. The same Cameroon squad didn’t want to board an airplane two years later, and again it was over a quarrel with Cameroon’s football federation over unpaid bonuses.
These types of disputes certainly leave a mark on players’ psychological preparations for games, and one can only imagine the negative effects they have on their performances when facing flawlessly run national teams like Germany or England.
- Lack of African born managers
We’ve all seen it. Ghana, Nigeria or Cameroon run out on the pitch and are followed by a foreign born manager, usually from countries like France, Serbia, Germany or some South American country. Sven-Goran Eriksson, Lars Lagerback, Paul Le Guen, Carlos Alberto Perreira, and Milovan Rajevac are all excellent coaches, and Perreira was actually a World Cup winner with Brasil in 1994, but they still lack the knowledge of African culture and football tradition.
One of the most often seen scenarios is when an African born coach takes his country on a winning run during qualification for major tournaments, and instead of getting the support from the country’s football federation he is immediately replaced by a foreign coach. It seems that the thought of playing at important tournaments with a domestic coach is inconceivable for federation chiefs.
- Failure of African star players to perform at World Cups
It has long been said that African players like Drogba, Eto’o and Yaya Toure don’t put in the same performances for their national teams that they put in for their clubs. Fans have often been angered by the perceived lack of ambition and motivation in these star players, who oftentimes looked like they just don’t care whether their national team wins or losses.
However, there is a more logical explanation as to why these top professionals appear to be different players when wearing their national team’s jerseys. And their football federations play a key role here as well. It seems that the federations’ insecurity and lack of confidence in their nations’ managers also has an effect on players’ performances. They look bereft of confidence, don’t show their leadership skills that they so clearly possess, and make wrong decisions in key moments of games. All of these are clear signs of players being down on confidence, and not of players not trying hard enough or not caring about their national teams’ fortunes.
- Lack of discipline
Lack of discipline has been another long-standing problem for African teams. Player power seems to play a huge role into how teams are organized and different fractions are often formed within the same team. Coaches can try as hard as they can to ameliorate the situation, but it seems that once all these different characters are together at the same training camp or hotel, battles of egos will inevitably arise.
This is strange since African people are not known for lacking organizational skills when they do something, whatever their profession may be. In fact, some of the best organized online casino review sites are from South Africa, Nigeria and other African countries, and you should look no further than at the published reports here to see just how well arranged all the casino promotions and bonuses are.