The 2018 World Cup kicked off in grand style bringing some exciting moments to home and pubs. But to the African countries, it has been a shaky start at the mundial.

Africa is being represented at the global tournament by Egypt, Morocco, Nigeria, Tunisia and Senegal. Unfortunately, Egypt, Morocco and Nigeria have all lost their opening games, albeit good football.

No doubt, n competitive tournament like the World Cup, a win in an opening match will be a morale booster for any competing country.

All the five countries representing African have participated in the World Cup in one edition or the other. So therefore, they are not novices playing on the global stage. Additionally, majority of the players ply their trades in the big foreign leagues in Europe, America and Asia.

Therefore, it is disappointing that all the African countries who have so far have cost their opening games.

Africa had its worse performance in a World Cup tournament in 1974, when the Leopards of Zaire were ignonimously defeated by old Yugoslavia 9-0, bringing to question the readiness of Africa to participate in the World Cup tournament. However, since that heavy defeat, Africa has not been the same.

Africans have held their own against their opponents since Tunisia first participated in the 1978 edition. In the 1982 edition in Spain, Algeria making their maiden appearance stunned the World with superlative performance, beating tournament favourite, West Germany by 2-1.

But they were denied making it to the next stage by one of the world’s worse crime in association football, an embarrassing match fixing that worked against them.

In 1990, Morocco took it’s turn to make history in the 1986 edition held in Mexico, when they became the first African country to make it to the next round.

In 1990, Cameroonian took the African game to a huge height, by surprising all, when they beat the defending champions Argentina, by a lone goal in the opening match of the tournament and made history by being the first Africa country to make it to the quarter finals stage.

The Green Eagles, now Super Eagles of Nigeria followed with a memorable outing in the US 1994 edition, qualifying to next round, but were robbed of making it to the 1/16 through a dubious penalty awarded against them in a crucial match against Italy that would have landed them into the next stage.

The Teranga Lions of Senegal, also took their turn, stunning the world with a splendid performance in the opening match of the Japan-South Korea 2002, beating the then world champions France, by a lone goal. They eventually equaled the record by Cameroon, to become the second African country to reach the Quarter Final stage.

Come 2010, the Black Stars of Ghana almost broke Africa’s record of quarter final berth in the World Cup, but was denied by the “perennial cheat,” Luis Suarez’s and Asamoah Gyan’s subsequent penalty miss denied the Stars go pass Uruguay to qualify for the semi-final, to become the  first African country since the beginning of the World Cup in 1930.

Africa countries have the potential to do better in the World cup, given the  huge potentials and talents at its disposal.  It unfortunate that so far the teams have not won any match.  Whatever is holding back the teams, they must overcome it and up their games in subsequent match to qualify for the next stage.

Africa is making a case for the increase of the number of team that participates in the world cup and it is only the performance at the world cup that can strengthen its case.

The Ghanaian Times believes the participating countries can overcome the initial set back and perform very well.

We can and we must.






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