It will take me a while to get over the deplorable state of African soccer. The most embarrassing were Cameroon and Ghana, especially Ghana which exposed the rotten and corrupt nature of the management. Well, they say that FIFA is ‘investigating’ the alleged match fixing story involving the Ghanaian coach and some soccer investors. Then the fight between a Ghanaian player and the GFA representative. I hear Hollywood is planning a movie about the Ghanaian incidence. I am a bit depressed now and I will need a couple of days to recover. The consolation I take from the world cup so far is that at least Algeria did not go out without a fight. Yes, they gave the Germans a massive fight. Way to go, Algeria!!
I suspect I am the only one who is feeling disheartened about the “football” that the teams from the African continent have put on display at this year’s World Cup. It is possible, highly possible, in my view, that by the end of today, there will be no African team left in the tournament. It was Cameroon, then Ivory Coast (my hope for glory), then Ghana (my country of birth) , now Nigeria (the champions of Africa and the home country of some of my best friends in the world) . Could Algeria be motivated by the memory of 1982 to beat Germany this evening and protect the image and integrity of “African football”? But, it is another African team, and I am not too hopeful, but remain prayerful.
Might we begin concluding that “African football”, for want of a better description, is at a very low state, if one compares what Mexico, Colombia, and Costa Rica put on display and what the African national teams have so far presented. Many of the non-African teams make good use of their corner kicks, but the African teams mess up theirs and even concede goals from them. Remember Ghana? And, today, Nigeria.
I do not receive the thousands of dollars that these players get from “appearance fees.” As a spectator of African descent, my compensation is the emotional outcome of watching the teams from my heritage site. When they win, my spirits are high, and when they put out the product that I have seen, so far, it makes me wonder whether, from a comparative global soccer perspective, the state of football in Africa or the conditioning of African teams in global sports have hit the lowest of the low. Don’t tell me Spain is out, England is out, Italy is out. For me , and the emotions of the sport, the African national teams deserve national reevaluation of what they produced in Brazil. There is something sorely lacking in African football.
This tournament is also a crucible for forging proud identities, making bold statements, and lifting up spirits. I was alive when Italia 90 came and passed, and all the African students I knew in my little corner in Canada felt very Cameroonian, whether they came from Ghana, Sierra Leone, Zambia or elsewhere on the continent. This year, I have never felt so spent in spirit as I watch the African teams wilt and wither.
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