Sunday, June 20, 2010

Ivory Coast Next to Fall

I'm getting really tired of writing about Africa's despair. It almost couldn't get worse, until it did. Ivory Coast was easily swept aside by an annoyingly efficient Brazilian side. 3-1. It could have been more. I'm sitting here in the press tribune at Soccer City as the stadium clears. There's no disguising the fact that this is turning into a horror show for Africa. One win out of 12. Only Cameroon is out, but Ivory Coast now has to hope that Brazil beats Portugal and the Elephants can sneak through on goal difference. South Africa is as good as out, though who knows maybe the French won't show up for the game (like they didn't do at training today). Ghana has to draw Germany. Ironically, it's Nigeria, with two losses, that may have the best chance of going through. Very disappointing.

I was on Swedish television before the game talking about African soccer and was naturally asked why Africa hasn't done better yet. It was Pele who famously said that an African team would win the World Cup before 2000. There are so many factors, but a lack of resources obviously is a big reason. In Sierra Leone, where I've visited a couple of times in recent months, there is ONE grass pitch and that's the national stadium. The talent is abundant, but the opportunities for players to develop aren't there. Everyone's desperate to leave to go abroad to make money, even if it means Asia or the Middle East, where often their footballing development stops.

So much to talk about...

Can I just say how hard I find it to like this Brazilian team. It just doesn't have the personalities to root for, like in the past, with some exceptions (Maicon, Lucio).

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