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Bafana Skins – Part 2

July 3rd, 2010 by · No Comments · Features, Football

Continued from yesterday. What went wrong for Confederation of African Football [CAF] teams at World Cup 2010?

Algeria

The Desert Foxes, despite somehow beating a superior Egypt to make it to the finals, finished bottom of their group – without scoring a goal. A dire draw against England was the highlight of their tournament. Coach Rabah Saadane is set to resign next week but does see reasons for optimism. “I think that Africa is on the right road. What we need in our national teams and squads is stability and a lot of discipline and I think in a few years time, Africa will have among the best teams in the world.” Or is he just mad?. Video The Highight?

Cameroon

Indomitable Lions? – no, Scaredy Cats. Played three, lost three, bottom of the group, coach quits. This side didn’t have the depth of the 1990 squad but some bizarre decisions by Paul Le Guen led to near revolt by the team after the first game against Japan. Samuel Eto’o played on the right wing and Arsenal midfielder Alex Song was left on the bench. In the words of that 1990 legend Roger Milla “There’s no point kidding ourselves, it was bad. It was even very bad. We messed up with our preparations, our organisation and above all our discipline. How are you supposed to achieve something at a World Cup when there are clans, and the players don’t want to talk with each other” VideoA gift from the Danes, as good as it got

Ivory Coast

For the second tournament in a row The Elephants of Cote d’Ivoire arrived with the strongest African squad, by a mile. They also, like 2006, arrived in the ‘Group of Death’. Finishing third behind Brazil and Portugal is no shame but the negative tactics of the opening game came back to haunt them. That defensive draw against Portugal was ‘masterminded’, and defended in the press, by Sven. They were left chasing a target of 9 goals against North Korea in their last game. Sadly this is the end of the road for a lot of the squad and this represented their best/last chance of success. VideoA parting gift for the Dear Leader

Where to now?

What this event has undoubtedly done is fired the imaginations of millions of Africans and, hopefully, encouraged them to take up the game with even greater enthusiasm.

Whoever’s the coach, South Africa should be in better shape come 2014. The experience and infrastructure gained from hosting the tournament should bring a permanent improvement in the national game. For Ghana, the future of this young squad seems bright and they should continue to build on the 2009 U20 World Cup win and their performances in the five games here.

With a vast, football mad, population Nigeria will continue to produce the players. What they need is a solid infrastructure, less political interference and a great coach [not you Sven]. If the expulsion from FIFA is enacted that would set them back decades. Expect crisis meetings to find a compromise in the next few days.

For Cameroon and Ivory Coast, with so many key players retiring, there will be a period of re-building but neither has the quality coming through to match the current first teams. As for North African football, Algeria, the worst team at the tournament, qualified by just 1 point ahead of Gambia, Senegal and Liberia. It could be another 24 years before we see them again. It also remains a mystery how Egypt can dominate the African Cup of Nations [six times winners] and make no mark on the global stage.

The reasons for failure?

Many are blaming a lack of investment in local coaches and youth players, adding that the continent’s big stars had not delivered on the world’s biggest stage. Salomon Kalou thinks he knows why. “Expectations were huge and we owed it to ourselves to perform well, but the pressure has caused us more stress than anything else and even inhibited our talents.”

But the consistent, overriding, theme to explain the relative failure of African sides has been the chaotic preparations by the national organisations.

The last words are best left to Amos Adamu, a member of the CAF executive committee. “Everybody [in Africa] thinks we have good players in Europe, and don’t need to prepare. Even if you give us 10 years to prepare, it will be the same because up till now many of these countries don’t recognise professionalism”

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