2014 FIFA WORLD CUP IN BRAZIL: This Time for Africa!

 In the 30s’, when FIFA World cup began, Africa was included just to give the football fiesta a true world outlook. No one expected an African team to add any excitement apart from comical relieves.

Watching Tahiti in last Confederations Cup reminded me how African team use to be. Countries like Zimbabwe were beaten by 13 – 0. The game was so backward in this world’s second largest and second most populous continent that FIFA had to allow only 2 spot for African countries.

Of course, FIFA did that to maintain a high standard of competition that will continue to attract large viewership and Mega sponsorships.

Although recently, the world cup is still being dominated by Europe and South American teams; countries like Germany, Spain, Italy and Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay will always be the favorite to win the prestigious trophy. But the game has also developed rapidly in Africa.

Cameroon was the first team to show-off the quality of African football to the rest the world in the 1982 World cup, where it drew all its games and was only sent packing by the throw of coins.

Indeed, it wasn’t a flash in pan, because in 1986, Cameroon stamped its authority in the mundial when it defeated Argentina 0 – 1, and held the world spellbound, even with the world’s best player then, Diego Maradona, in that Argentine team.

Another African team was to show up in 1994. Nigeria held Italy on hostage for 72 minutes and the whole world watched in disbelief – Africa has come of age in football. Then in 1998, Nigeria defeated European teams like Spain 3 -2 and advanced to the second round of the competition. Nigeria put up such impressive football artistry that moved legends like Pele to predict that Nigeria will be the first African team to win the world cup soon.

FIFA has since expanded the world cup finals to include the participation of 32 countries and 5 spots given to Africa due to the performances of teams like Cameroon, Nigeria, Ghana, Senegal in some previous editions.

In 2010, the world cup was hosted for the first time in Africa with big blast; the vuluzela, the zulu dance and the song of Shakira declared, “Waka-waka…this time for Africa” was but a foretelling of the near future when Africa would be declared the world champions. That set time is come!

 Cameroonian football legend, Roger Milla, was poetic about it, “The clouds have gathered and for sure the rain will fall in Brazil, but the Sun from Africa shall arise and shine so bright because its time has come.” “Believe me, this is the set time for Africa to win!” Milla declared.

Another ex-International and former captain of Ghana’s national team, Abedi Pele Ayew said, “Ghana, Nigeria and Cameroon present teams with Lion Hearts; they can surprise the world; but Cote d’Ivoire seem to present more balanced team from Africa. It may choose the world cup to live up to expectations.”

“The Ivorian side have players like Yaya Toure, Didier Drogba, Giovinho….who love the big stage like the world cup. Perhaps, Africa is presenting its best football countries in the continent.” Ayew Concluded.

Nigeria’s ex-International and Super Sports football analyst, Sunday Oliseh said, “Africa can win the world cup in Brazil; predictions or no predictions. The countries that qualified from the continent have had vital experiences of the world cup in the past and know what it takes to excel.  For example, Nigeria national team has Stephen Keshi as Head coach and several backrooms staff who had at one time participated as players in the world cup.  They’ve seen it all and that may turn out to be an advantage for these African sides.”

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