None of the five participating teams had the necessary mental belief and determination to win the prestigious trophy, which illustrated Africa’s downfall even before the tournament began proper.
When the draws for the FIFA World cup group stages was coded at the Costa do Sauipe resort in Brazil, majority tipped the reigning African Champions Nigeria and Ghana to make it through to the round of 16, albeit with skepticism of a possible downfall.
Despite having top quality players with flexibility and football intelligence to adapt to whatever formation the manager decides, it played no tenacity whatsoever to go all through to the finals and win; they feared offering hostage to fortune. Being realistic was the ordeal of the two countries preparations. Infact, their timid reasoning affected the fans in a negative way. They rather resort to supporting and schadenfreude other countries. Because they believe despite all the positives, the African delegates would still fall short.
With some eliminated in the first round, and others in the subsequent, we analyze a few excerpts from an inefficient campaign in Brazil for the African sides.
1) The mediocre belief and being realistic– Before the group stages got underway, the managers and players were careful in choosing their words on Africa’s realistic chances in Brazil. They were very afraid the learned people would laugh and mock them. But determination, skill, character, and tensility is the key to success. There was nothing wrong in Stephen Keshi admitting the Super Eagles are favorites to land the trophy, even though it may sound absurd to critics. Being favorites has a way hammering pressure on the boys to deliver, and make them feel superior. But as aforementioned, the too cautious antics derailed the players to nadir, that elimination after the group stages was a rare gift. More so, with the monetary largesse that has robbed the African players of the desire to win; its utter stupidity to settle for less at Football’s grand stage.
2) Money distrubtion, still a recurring problem– Its abhorrent when monetary wrangling interferes with the beautiful game.
Understandably, the players must get paid to perform, but thrashing out a precedent predicament before the genesis of the tournament would have saved the continent from less embarrassment.
Before the fixtures began proper, the Cameroon players, that had a horrendous campaign, were apparently interested in the meager appearance fee than the Competition itself. In a strange twist of fate, West Africa duo Ghana and Nigeria were no exception to the disgrace again.
And had it not been the intervention of the Governments, the players were prepared to boycott the crucial games, which might have resulted to lengthy bans.
To rub salt in wound, we witnessed a Greek side that snubbed match bonus plans, requesting the money invested in the development of a standard training center in Greece.
3) Algeria interested in Africa football giant status– it seems the power house of Africa’s football is sailing north. The Fennecs by far, had the most convincing tournament of all the participating teams.
They boast the qualities of a winning side, and only luck tarnished their hopes in Brazil.
Paired in a group with Belgium, Korea and Russia, many doubted their credibility to proceed past the first round. Though, it was a stupid assertion, as the Les Fennecs won all four friendly games (Though against smaller teams) prior to their first group encounter against Belgium, which they lost but scored.
Second game however, witnessed four stunning goals against Korea, and then the pulsating draw with Russia that guaranteed a second round feisty tie against Germany after finishing second in the group.
The bookmakers predicted a complete annihilation by the Germans, but they had their hearts in their mouth as the game proceeded into extratime.
They eventually lost, but there were so many positives to note from a mouth-watering display from Vahid Halilhodzic men that night.
4) Nigeria’s Mikel Obi is overrated– Arguably expected to be the continent’s most outstanding player in the World Cup finals, the Chelsea midfielder flopped in the most embarrassing fashion. Expected to cajole, hector, rather, we witnessed lackluster displays from a player who looked disinterested. Because he has been under the tutelage of World Class manager with tactical nous and fluidity; we assumed he would have no qualms orchestrating play in the final third position assigned to him, making him the fulcrum of the team, to enable other players flourish around him.
Concurrently caught napping and losing possession, Mikel did not show a player playing his football trade in one of the biggest Football clubs. His execrable narcissism attutide neither went unnoticed- Caught strolling ignorantly around the pitch in the first game against Iran like he was awarded with the Ballon d’or prior to the game, and his performance throughout the campaign was so lethargic that many would rather watch paint on a wall dry.
If Mikel Obi poor performance during the friendlies ahead of the World was regarded as a bad day in the office, the snake finally swallowed the pig. His demeanor was exposed in Brazil, and I don’t see the need of getting a national callup anytime soon for the 6 ft 2in Midfielder, unless the country is still living in doldrums.
Written by @femi4arsenal