World Cup: Africa makes uninspiring start in Brazil

Okocha says the Super Eagles Eagles is most likely team to break the quarter final jinx first in Africa before the Elephants of Cote D’Ivoire.

Talks of an African country wining the prestigious FIFA senior World Cup may for long remain a wish as the continent’s representatives in Brazil, safe for Ivory Coast, have not shown enough promise to win the coveted football silverware.

For the second edition running, FIFA has allocated five slots to Africa and after the first set of matches concluded on Tuesday, the continent can only boast of a win, which was recorded by Ivory Coast in their game against Japan.

Africa Champions, Nigeria could only struggle to a goalless draw against Iran in their own duel while the other three countries flying the flag of the continent, Ghana, Algeria and Cameroon all suffered varying degrees of losses in their respective opening matches against United States, Belgium and Mexico respectively.

While some say the poor start by the African teams is a pointer to further heartaches, others have argued that the continent’s flag bearers will get their bearing when they return for their next set of matches.

Aside Ghana that are condemned to face top favourites Germany in their second group game, the other quartet of African teams have somewhat fair pairings they should be able to muscle the needed results from.

The Indomitable Lions of Cameroon, who lost their opening game against Mexico, have Croatia to contend with on Wednesday.

The Group A clash is of high premium as another defeat for any of the two teams effectively signals the end of the road.

For the Elephants, another victory in their game against Colombia will see them make the second round of the World Cup for the first time in their history.

Nigeria on their part have Bosnia to contend with while Algeria, who incidentally are the highest ranked African country on the monthly FIFA rankings, will take on Korea Republic.

In different submissions, the former Super Eagles duo of Jay Jay Okocha and Sunday Oliseh agree that an African team will indeed win the World Cup but both don’t think the fruition of the dream would be in Brazil.

“I honestly do believe that the World cup is in our reach. In 1996, we, my teammates and I of the Nigerian Super Eagles, shocked the world by winning for the first time in history, the Olympics soccer Gold medal in Atlanta, U.S.A. A title very somewhat akin to the FIFA World cup, beating along the way Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, Japan and Hungary,” Oliseh said.

For Okocha, African teams in Brazil could set a new mark by going past the quarter finals as he reckons that there is always an element of surprise in football.

“That is why football is a game of surprise, if you have a good day and your opponent has a bad one then you can go that far but as it is now It will be difficult for me to out rightly say we have a team from Africa that will make it to semi finals.”

Expectedly, Okocha picked the Eagles as the likely team to break the quarter final jinx first in Africa before also selecting the Elephants of Cote D’Ivorie to do same.

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