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Wednesday, February 01, 2006

It's The Wrong Teams, Gromit

I've been watching a little African Cup of Nations football on EuroSport here in the UK and have been thoroughly enjoying it, if only for the chaos, madness and air of impending calamity that always seems to surround African football teams.

I've particularly enjoyed Ej Hadji Diouf's comments about the quality of the African teams that have qualified for the World Cup.

Before his Senegal side's match with Ghana, he said that the "wrong teams" had qualified for the 2006 Finals and that "we need to beat them [Ghana] to show our people that it’s an accident that we’re not going to the World Cup". Good rousing stuff, even if it did annoy the Ghanaians more than a little. Final score: Ghana 1 Senegal 0 . Oops !

However, a more serious point is that the African teams that have qualified for the World Cup have not been playing so well in the African Cup of Nations and there is a feeling among commentators that African soccer will do itself no favours in Germany this summer.

Angola, Togo, Ghana and Tunisia have all stuttered during the group phases and none are exactly covering themselves with glory. In fact, only the Ivory Coast is looking a worthwhile team.

A column on the AllAfrica website shows just how pessimistic people are about African nations chances at the 2006 World Cup.
Read it and weep.

Maybe if the established African footballing powers like Nigeria and Cameroon hadn't been quite so arrogant about their World Cup qualification chances, then African football wouldn't have lost it's mojo.

posted by mark_s at 12:18 PM


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