Will Africa Ever Win The World Cup?

Because I couldn't find a screencap from the Ad that runs on TV. You know the one. the MTN one. Yeah. Anyway.
As it stands, none of our African teams have a guaranteed slot in the next round. In fact, most of them have a guaranteed flight home. The others are praying to go through on technicality, not performance.

All this during the World Cup we have so been waiting for. Much as it is sad and frustrating, it is also quite curious. It makes one wonder when an African man shall raise that trophy as though he were about to thrust it into the sky in elation. Worse than when, my worry is now whether or not this will ever be a reality.

Theoretically, yes. It’s just a matter of time. Statistically speaking anyway. But sometimes one has to wonder; if not now, then when?

Probability aside, the reality of things is that the tournament is only getting more competitive and seems to be expanding beyond our grasp. Teams like the USA where nobody plays this sport have grown faster than those in a continent where this is not a sport but a lifestyle. Yeah, the US may have a silver spoon in it’s mouth but we we’re born with a leather ball at our feet. Our talent trumps. Or at least it should.


It’s 2010, we have many of the best footballers in the world playing for African nations; we also have world-class coaches in our midst, internationally trained teams and athletes with sizeable funds behind them….oh, and we’re hosting the damn tournament.

There has never been this much African presence at a World Cup Tournament. The stats were juked in our favor: 6 out of 32 teams are African(7 if you count France) so that gives us a 1 in 5 representation. You’re telling me that if the world were divided in 5ths, Africa would be the bottom 5th battling with Oceania and Asia. In Football???? Come on.
World Cup Winners by Country Map

And at home!!!

Try as you may, but you cannot downplay the effect of being a Host Nation. Part of the excitement in getting to host the tournament is getting a serious shot at clasping that golden statue. South Africa will become the first Host Nation not to make it past the first round. I mean, even the US made it to Round 2 in 1994; albeit barely. But back then, to be quite frank, they had as crappy a team as one could put together and ended up getting knocked out by Brazil – Romario’s Brazil at that. So they held their heads high when they walked away from that 1-0 defeat.

Don’t we deserve to hold our heads high too? Wouldn’t this be the time to see some real African hands lift up that lunk of Gold? Don’t we owe it to Madiba to give him that last grace of seeing his people(Africa, not just SA) win at something we KNOW we’re the best at anyway? I mean dude is 91, this may be his last World Cup(I hope not, but hey, 91 is a big number.) What about the fans, the supporters; the stage is set for an incredible victory. But alas there are no victors playing.

Maybe we’re just not ready for that honor. Maybe we never will be.

Let’s hope this is a dream deferred, not deterred.

Mandela's Cup.

PostScript: The editor in me is saying that the correct phrasing of that title should be “Will an African nation ever win the World Cup?” Alas, that is a different but similar question. See, it’s never about what country or squad is on the pitch at the time; if they’re African, Africa is supporting them. Much as we are divided into 50 something units that often squabble and disagree, we all rally behind each other when it’s time to play ball.

10 thoughts on “Will Africa Ever Win The World Cup?

  1. The only thing Madiba will be getting is, one of these:


    As for the rest of Africa, there may be hope for us but sadly it wont be in this here World Cup… maybe Brazil 2014 or whenever we finally decide to get our acts together and start playing the kind of football we were born to play!

    We’re only in the First Round now so I stand to be corrected.

    • With African teams – not just in football- we seem to lack faith on our abilities even when statistics dictate otherwise.

      Once on the world stage, our teams play like they are N. Korea and were swung a pity spot. You deserve to play there dammit, act accordingly. Show some consistent and coordinated football.

      Part of it may have something to do with the national teams lack of organisation – coaches coming on at the last minute. Players not having played together long enough to for a unit etc

      It’s sometimes embarrassing not to know which team you will see from day to day. The one that won the last African Cup or the meek buggers who don’t believe in themselves.

  2. It all comes down to preparation and preparedness. We Africans never take anything seriously enough to prepare and be prepared for it. That’s why we always end up losing out and being exploited by those who come to our shores with a long term vision for themselves (colonialists, “development partners”, “foreign investors” and ofcourse, the Chinese).

    It’s a sad day to be an African. We knew this tournament would be hosted on our soil almost 3 and a half years in advance and didn’t we bother to prepare so as to give our fellow africans a good show they can be proud of? Clearly not.

    The African Dream may still live on but our World Cup hopes are dead.

  3. Pingback: Tears, Tears, Tears « The Trot and The Run

  4. Nice post! African teams have seriously disappointed… I was supporting Cameroon, supposedly the strongest African team, and look where they finished. Disappointing…

  5. The worst part for me is how many Africans are playing for European leagues, and playing well. Bring them onto home soil to play for their home teams and all we get is disappointing play and zero results.

    Yes, Eto’o, i’m talking to you.

    I can’t even watch that MTN ‘Africa Unite’ advert anymore, and yet it brought so much pride at the start of this WC!

  6. I was disappointed by Indomitable Lions a team I have followed closely since 98. This years team was an embarassement to the year 2000 team. Marc Vivien must be pulling his hair out from his seat up there. Cameroun lacked a creative player behind Etoo. Emana was ok but the coach never used him much. I didnt see a single african stand out like Okocha, Mboma, Hadji, Chipo, Radebe did in past world cups. this is the closest we will ever be to lifting it

    • I still love cameroon football, i believe they are the few africans who play classic football, others teams have been very rude on the pitch much lack of respect!! i believe they do what Harambee stars cant do! I LUV HARAMBEE STARS

  7. RE: my previous comment.

    …Our World Cup hopes have been revived once more, all thanks to Ghana! Hallelujah 🙂

  8. Pingback: Our Black Stars: “Did Ghana Deserve to Win?” « Diasporadical

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