This time not for Africa!
This time for Africa, or so said Shakira. Well she got it wrong. Not this time around. Ghana, the only surviving African country in the ongoing FIFA world cup in South Africa crashed out yesterday in a penalty shoot-out against Uruguay. It was 120 minutes of drama for all of us here in on the continent.
Following the abysmal performance of the African contingent that represented at the glamorous tournament, a thorough analysis devoid of emotions could come in handy. Nigeria, Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Algeria, South Africa and Ghana were the six African representatives there. The first question worth asking is, why did they all crash out so easily? Cameroon for instance did not score a single point, not even a draw.
The diseases of football administration in Africa
I have read various technical commentaries and analysis about why Africa never gets anywhere in the tournament. What I am yet to read is what the problem really is. It’s simply a that of inferiority complex and corruption on the part of football administrators and selfishness, arrogance and plain incompetence on the part of players.
Ghana is currently the under-20 world youth champion, having won the trophy earlier on in the year. One thing of significance about that tournament is that we won it with a local coach: Sellas Tetteh who is now the national coach of Rwanda. When the issue of a new coach for the senior national team came up, what primary school logic suggests is that you give it to the one who just won a tournament and is also a native.
But for some weird, inexplicable reason, we went for a foreign coach. One who has less experience and has never won any international tourney. To add insult to injury, he is said to not speak English and thus we have to hire an interpreter to make for communication with the country. How many of you see a any sense in this? Why do African FAs not have faith in African coaches?
Ghana has a wealth of talent in terms of coaches. But for some reason, which I believe is inferiority complex, our FA has always preferred foreign coaches to them. None of whom have ever led us anywhere. One other reason I can think of why they are not interested in the local coaches is because of personal interest and corruption.
When you go for a local coach who you’ve known from childhood, you’re not likely to get any kickback from him. But when you bring in a foreign coach, it is always easier to negotiate with him about some kickbacks from his salary should you get him the job. So in this event, the coach who agrees to the highest possible kickback figure wins the deal. Not necessarily the most competent.
To make matters worse, that stupid law in FIFA regulations that states no “third party should interfered in the affairs of the local FA” makes the administrators of the game into demigods who are not subject to any control from the government, which in any democracy, is made up of the people, the very ones that cough up money to run the FA!
In essence, you have a body that the hardworking taxpayer raises money for, but is not answerable to them and can choose to do whatever they like, bring any coach they like, hire incompetent people to act as the team’s technical brains all in the name of some useless and moronic FIFA regulation. That is one major malady that is afflicting African football and its governance. I hope Nigeria’s president is able to stand up to FIFA and tell them to shove their regulation up where the sun does not shine!
Diseases of the players
In yesterday’s game, Ghana’s Asamoah Gyan displayed a trait of most African players when they get onto the pitch: selfishness and greed for fame. Some are arguing that we should not talk about Gyan because he’d scored in earlier games. I ask those people, should your children pass exams in one period and woefully fail in the most important one, do you just say oh it’s ok or seek what caused their failure?
Gyan, like most African players, has a certain mentality (Wayne Rooney of England suffers same) that he is entitled to a goal in every match. He must necessarily score, he must add his name to the score sheet, he must be praised by the fine ladies, he is a demigod! What Gyan, and those like him forget is that it is a team made up of 10 other men. There are times when you just cannot do it alone. You would have to necessarily pass on the ball for someone to do it.
Not these self appointed goal makers. They play with all the selfishness one can imagine because they are the only ones that have been anointed to find the back of the net.
Then too we have sheer incompetence on the part of others. The biggest miss of all time by Yakubu Ayigbeni of Nigeria readily comes to mind. Our players for some reason miss when they have absolutely no excuse to. I could go on and on about African players here.
The long and short of it all
Until Africa puts its house in order it can forget getting anywhere in the world cup. Until she gets a little (not much, just a little) bit sincere and competent people to man its football administration, players have their heads flushed of all the maladies afflicting them when they get onto the pitch, our dreams of making any meaningful and significant dent in the game of soccer on the world stage will eternally remain what it is- a dream. And I have a dream!
Cross posted from OMG Africa!