THE ‘CURSED’ CONTINENT
We produce the best. Yes. It’s a fact that even the dumbest can’t deny. It’s so real that even the Caribbean weather cannot question. Are we not the best in producing excellent wonder kids? From east to west, south to north and even central Africa has over the past decades produced some excellent, talented and great footballers. Some have represented their different nations while others who changed their nationalities have done splendidly well in those foster nations.
From the days of George Weah, the Liberian iconic footballer who broke history as the first and by far the only African to ever win the Balloon D’OR, Ghanaian Abedi Pele among others ,Cameroonian Samuel E’too, Rigobert Song, Ivorian golden generation of Didier Drogba, the Toure brothers just to mention a few. Nigeria can’t be left behind as they’ve produced a world-class bunch of footballers in Yekini Rashid, Jay Jay Okocha, Nwankwo Kanu, Obafemi Martins, Obi Mikel and many other fantastic players.
The northern and southern Africa has not also been left behind. The Pharaohs had great team players like Mohamed Aboutrika who along with other teammates terrorized the African football for several years, winning several accolades. The southern part, central and eastern Africa has not being left behind. On the international level we’ve produced players such as Dennis Oliech, Mariga, Wanyama Victor, and currently players such as Michael Olunga and Paul Were are on the rise.
One may wonder why these great players have never gone past the quarterfinals of the World Cup, football’s most anticipated, loved and biggest completion with their different nations. We’ve been overshadowed at the global stage by European, American, some Asian teams, and even the Caribbean teams. The question which rings into one’s mind is, are the cursed continent? Why can’t we do just as the others are doing so as to prosper and bring glory back home?
Apart from the Lion of Taranga’s 2002 heroics and the Black Stars 2010 wonders of reaching the last eight and finishing seventh at the world cups, no other African team has ever proceeded past the quarterfinal berth. The Ivorian golden generation of the early 2000s did fail and brought shame to Africa after failing to qualify for the knockout stages. In terms of individual awards and club merits these players have done wonders in their different European clubs they’ve represented all over the years.
The tragedy of African football is what we can do to emulate football’s great teams and be considered as powerhouses again. I think the major setback facing our teams is the ego of individualism of different star players. This create confusion and lack of communication in the teams hence lower the morale of the younger players who may not have gone all the way to the established clubs. Once these demerits are addressed, trust me African football shall rise and the gods of football will be pleased with us as they reward us handsomely.
By: Phebian Olungah