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Monday, 6 August, 2001, 09:24 GMT 10:24 UK
World Cup: Are the best teams representing Africa?
African football
Nigeria, Senegal, Tunisia, Cameroon and South Africa will be Africa's representatives at the World Cup but are they the most deserving teams?

Nigeria booked their place in the World Cup finals after a convincing 3-0 victory over Ghana on Sunday. It meant that Liberia missed out on a chance to contest the finals for the first time ever.

Both Cameroon and South Africa had already got their tickets several weeks earlier after easily winning their groups. Tunisia made it two successive World Cup appearances while Senegal became the surprise packages.

What do the results tell us about the state of African football? And how do you think the five will fare in Japan and Korea?


We have not yet seen the best that Africa can do

Bakela Nare, Zimbabwe/USA
I have followed African soccer for a long time and I have to say that the quality of play has improved tremendously over the last 5-10 years. Recently I watched Liberia vs Colombia in New York and they were very impressive and could have represented the continent at the cup. We have not yet seen the best that Africa can do and I look at this as work in progress. Sooner or later Africa will bring the cup home, mark my words.
Bakela Nare, Zimbabwe/USA

As a step towards African unity, all Africans, home and abroad, should pray for any one of the teams representing the continent to emerge victorious. It should not be a matter of which team is the correct one to represent Africa, but we should all hope for an African victory. Congratulations to all participating teams. A special pat on the back of the Liberian team under the helm of George Weah. We are almost there! Keep up the courage. Liberia is destined to bounce back on the international scene.
J. Edwin Peal, USA/ Liberia

Nigeria, Cameroon and Morocco all have teams that are on a par with most European ones. Unfortunately mismanagement has prevented them from fulfilling their potential in the past. If Cameroon and Nigeria go into this tournament without any political problems I'm sure they will do well.
Faraj, Scotland

It does not matter which African team wins

Emmanuel Zangar, Liberia/ USA
I want to first of all congratulate the five countries for their efforts in qualifying for the World Cup. I strongly believe that with these teams in the league for Africa, we (Africans) can expect a better and proud result. It does not matter which African team wins. The fact of the matter is that the cup will be coming to Africa for the first time in history. Congratulations boys, we are proud of you people.
Emmanuel Zangar, Liberia/ USA

I'm very happy to hear that Senegal is going to represent us in the World Cup. Surely the Senegalese have strikers to be seen in the tournament and the likes of Diawara should truly represent us.
Owili Dennis, Kenya

ALL these teams need encouragement, they are just as good as any other team in the world.
Bayo Arowolo, USA

I think that if the teams that qualified for the World Cup in Japan/Korea want to do well, they will have to be consistent. The problem with African teams is that once they get one victory, they are carried away. Nigeria experienced that in 1994 in a match against Italy, and in 1998 in a match against Denmark.
Emeka Nwosu, Nigeria/ USA

To me they are the super five

Namara, Uganda/ Canada
To me they are the super five. We have faith in them to display their talents for the world to enjoy. They have invested their energy and we have hope in them to triumph and bring home the World Cup to Africa for the first time.
Namara, Uganda/ Canada

If you've not noticed, all the countries that have qualified were the five best teams in the African Nations Cup in 2000. The four semi-finalists and the best quarter-final team (Senegal). I personally believe that they are all going to do Africa proud with Nigeria going the farthest in the World Cup.
Robert Fawehinmi, USA/Nigeria

I am surprised that one of the contributers on the forum from South Africa thinks Senegal is a flukey team. To those who are well grounded on matters of African football, we all know the potential of the Lions of Senegal. On the same token, I contend it is high time the Chipolopolo (Zambia) win the Africa cup, and qualify next time around along with a new Ghana team, Ivory Coast, Angola, Morocco, Egypt or Algeria. We need new African faces at the world cup.
Thoko, Zambia/Zimbabwe

All five teams would be beaten by a average Sunday pub league side in England

Fred O'Conner, South Africa
I am afraid that probably none of these teams deserves its place in the finals, because they're simply not good enough. I am sympathetic to the school of thought that says the World Cup should be genuinely global, but ultimately it has to be about finding the best teams. I feel it is grossly unfair that in Europe many high-class teams fight each other for qualification. How can anyone justify having two former champions in one group? (I refer to England and Germany, of course)
Robert, England

The scary thing is that all five teams would be beaten by a average Sunday pub league side in England. South Africa do not deserve to qualify. They will be knocked out in the 1st round and not score one goal. You read it here first.
Fred O'Conner, South Africa

I'd have prefered to see Cote D'ivoire in place of Tunisia who I think is the weakest link. Nigeria just confirmed their local coaches would be in charge, that is a mighty step in the right direction. Now if Cameroon can just do the same, I think these two along with Senegeal are sure bets for the 2nd round - but let's see the draws first!
Richard Iwezulu, Nigeria

All the teams deserve their places. Otherwise, how did they win their groups?
La Reussi, Nigeria

I really congratulate Senegal for their superlative perfomance. They showed the stuff they are made of when they nearly edged out the great Super Eagles in the q-finals of 2000 Nations Cup. As for Nigeria I hope the NFA will let Shaibu and his able assistants take the Eagles to the world cup instead of recruiting rejected men from Europe.
Oyebola Anifowose, Seeiheim, Germany/Nigeria

I am suprised by Thaddo's (South Africa) comment that Nigeria is the weakest team. I doubt if he really follow the trend of soccer in the continent. I strongly believe in Cameroon and Nigeria. Senegal may look good but if experience in the mundial is anything to rely on, then I will be happy if they can qualify for the second round. This is a World Cup that will be full of surprises so expect the Eagles and the Indomitable Lions in the quarter-finals.
Sam Awolola, Nigeria/South Africa

I am going to anger people here but not one team from Africa is going to get past the 2nd round. Some say Nigeria or Cameroon might bring back the trophy. The African nations, although deserving their places, do not have the funding or the stability with which to be a major force in world football. I can only predict an early exit and many yellow cards.
Michael Lewis, UK

The question I think should be asked is, do England or Scotland deserve a place in the World Cup? Africa is the second largest continent in the world with only five places. In the last World Cup, Nigeria qualified out of the toughest group, whilst England, who were placed in one of the easiest groups, still found it difficult to qualify.
Ade Delalu, Nigeria

Angola and Namibia would have been better ambassadors than flukey Senegal. The chances of going further in the tournament are reduced and this reflects wrongly on African football when we are represented by chancers like Senegal. The Senegalese are really a questionable side.
Kaluya, South Africa

The four teams minus Nigeria deserved to qualify. Nigeria is a football powerhouse but when they go to such tournaments, they throw away their chances and start making trivial demands. Only serious teams should represent Africa in such serious tournaments. My wish was to have Liberia qualify instead of Nigeria. I foresee a situation where the Nigerian team will be at it again demanding allowances and throwing away crucial matches.
Nakigudde Grace, Uganda

he only team that really worries me is Nigeria - they have enough talent but they never impress

Timothy Shawa, Malawi

The five finalists from Africa are the deserving finalists. What is going to hamper their succsess in the finals is the all too familiar African story - haphazard preparation and lack of funding. They emerged as winners from a group of countries who share the same problems. But against teams who are well prepared they will definelity come unstuck.
David Madzivanyika, Zimbabwe

The best sides qualified but I sincerely think that this time around, countries from Africa should go to the world cup well prepared so that they can lift morale in the continent. Nigeria and Cameroun are the strong cards from Africa and I believe they can do better than the previous tournaments.
Ransford A Kofi Yeboah, Sunyani,Ghana

I think all the teams deserve to be there. The only team that really worries me is Nigeria. They have enough talent but they never impress. They are always too easy and never aggressive in their style of play. The other four are always aggressive. These are the teams that are presently doing well. So once again, they desreve it!
Timothy Shawa, Malawi

Senegal definitely deserved it. They were in the toughest group and came out shining. Nigeria and Tunisia did well. Cameroon had an easier road but as a the current champions of Africa, they deserve their trip to the far east. I have a major problem with South Africa's qualification - they were basically given a bye. I am afraid they will be the team that will do the worst
Nebiy, Ethiopia

All five teams are good enough to make Africa proud

Caje, Bamenda,Cameroon/USA

The five teams all deserve their places in the upcoming World Cup. My special commendation goes to Senegal. Theirs is the best story to come out of Africa's World Cup qualifying series. They've singularly made the boldest confirmation in recent times that Africa has truly come of age in the round leather game. And for those who plan to consider them as pushovers, come Japan/Korea 2002, do so at your own peril!
Diepriye, Nigeria

I hope all the Football Associations get the preparations underway right away as next year is just around the corner. The NFA should not spend the next six months looking for another third rate 'cowboy' in the name of a foreign technical adviser.
Taiwo Adewoye, Germany

All five teams are good enough to make Africa proud but I am afraid poor management and egocentric individuals will 'help' see that these teams don't do their best. Governments and football associations - Back off.
Caje, Bamenda,Cameroon/USA

It is often said, "It's not how fast you start, but how well you finish". How true this was for Nigeria. No-one gave them a snowball's chance in hell after their disappointing loss to lowly Sierra Leone. But the Nigerian side stormed back to "kick butt" as we say here in the U.S.
Victor Ihama, U.S.A.

All the African teams deserve to be there. They compete with more than fifty countries on the continent to qualify - more than Europe and the other continents. Africa deserves more than five spot at the finals.
Ibok Esema, Nigeria/USA

I contend that because Guinea, which was leading its group at the time, was robbed by Fifa of the opportunity to qualify in front of South Africa, we will never really know that answer. Nonetheless 'We' will root heart and soul for all of the continent's teams in their quest to shine a positive light on African football.
Sory Sangare, US/Guinea

I think you underestimate the potential of a country like South Africa

Cameron, London, UK
I strongly believe that the African countries who made it to the finals have worked hard and deserved the positions they have attained. Liberia tried its best but its best was not good enough for the the kind of challenges that the World Cup represents. The World Cup is an arena for the real strong, serious, consistent and determined teams.

Nigeria, South Africa, Cameroon and Tunisia are clearly the best and most consistent teams that Africa can produce. The only disappointment was the failure of Ghana to make it. My hope is that these countries will do Africa proud at the World Cup fiesta in Korea. Good luck to them all.
Ose Ogunkorode, USA

I think these are the best five teams Africa can offer. One person commented that South Africa were the weakest link. I think you underestimate the potential of a country like South Africa. In their first ever World Cup (France 1998), South Africa only lost one game in the tournament - 3-0 to France who eventually went on to win the cup. Not only that, but didn't Brazil also lose three goals in that final?
Cameron, London, UK

Now that the current big five are truly on their way to the Mundial, we are expectant of a better performance than the perennial first and second round exits. My money is on Nigeria, Senegal and Cameroon to lift Africa. South Africa and Tunisia cannot be relied upon, their easy qualification not withstanding. These teams get brittle at the highest levels of the game.
Motunrayo Adetola, Nigeria/Canada

The countries that qualified are the most deserving teams because they were not nominated to represent Africa, but they fought hard to earn their tickets, especially Nigeria.

I expect to see some inspired performances from all of our representatives

Christian Akale, Cameroon
However, we cannot accurately predict what their performance would be in Japan and Korea. Soccer giants like Brazil are still struggling for qualification too. We should first watch their performance at the forthcoming African Cup of Nations.
Damilola Olajide, Australia

The more pertinent question in my opinion is whether the teams will be prepared. In this regard, I hope that the Governments and Football Associations concerned will resolve the nagging issues around the management of player compensations, transparentcy in the use of allocations and other logistics.

When these arrangements are taken care of, I expect to see some inspired performances from all of our representatives, especially Cameroon, Senegal and Nigeria.
Christian Akale, Cameroon

I give kudos to all the five countries for qualifying for the biggest event on the planet. I am extremely happy for Nigeria for making it despite all rough times. Nigeria and Cameroun probably have the best chance of making a greater impact at the World Cup than the others. This is not under rate the others, at least they showed great courage qualifying.

Senegal is the big suprise. They showed signs of the rising prowess in African soccer during the last African Nations Cup in Nigeria but most people didn't take serious enough. Now they've proven it. Congratulations!
Jide Browne, Nigeria

I believe the five countries that qualified fought hard for their tickets, considering the fact that it's been a highly contested qualifying series. Unpredictable until the last match in some groups.

I would want the world to look out for surprises from Nigeria, Cameroon and the new entrant, Senegal. Reasons being, there are emerging history hungry players in these teams, most especially Nigeria!
Adetunji A. Kayode, Nigeria

All the five teams deserve to be in Japan/Korea. But one should not fail to give kudos to Senegal that qualified from a strong group that has Egypt, Morocco and Algeria. That again shows the dominance of West African Teams in the continent.
Rafiu Adeoye, Togo/USA

Any team that can qualify from a group that includes Egypt and Morocco, deserves to be in the World Cup

Toyin Olaniyi, USA

Now that the men have been separated from the boys, all is now set for a superb African outing at the World Cup. I strongly believe Africa merits the five spots given to it. Given fair officiating at the World Cup, either Nigeria or Cameroon can bring the trophy back to Africa. God bless Africa.
Demi Shae, Atlanta, USA

Senegal qualifying was a surprise. But any team that can qualify from a group that includes Egypt and Morocco, deserves to be in the World Cup. Best of luck, especially to the Super Eagles, and to all the countries representing Africa.
Toyin Olaniyi, USA

I am delighted to see five African nations playing in Japan. Africa is the fastest improving continent in international football.

Up here in Scotland in 1998 we all thought that all we had to do was beat so-called no hopers Morocco to qualify for the knock-out stages for the first time in our history. Well, we got stuffed 3-0 to prove that African nations are extremely talented. Write off an African nation at your peril.

Maybe not this World Cup, but the next one, I see an African nation making at least the semi-finals stage.
David, Scotland

The five representatives are probably the best that Africa can send. Contrary to what some may think, South Africa will do very well this time. Just because they had a so-called weak group does not mean anything.

Nigeria struggled to beat the likes of Sierra Leone and Liberia, and could only manage a draw in Ghana. To me, the weakest team among the five is Nigeria. Cameroon may disappoint as well if their performance in the Confederations' Cup is anything to go by. Tunisia will do as they usually do, while it's hard to predict how Senegal will perform.
Thabo, South Africa/USA

Yes! They truly represent the best of Africa. I believe that they will do well and will present quite a challenge to the other participating countries
Komi Gnatiko, US

Watch out England, Nigeria is coming to get you!
Dokun Johnson, London

I think the five represent the best we have at the moment from the continent

Tony Yeboah-asare, Ghana
I strongly feel Nigeria and Cameroon are not going there this time to watch others take what they rightly deserve - qualifying for the quarter-finals at least. This is not to say that the others don't deserve to be there. Personally, I'm looking forward to at least three of them in the second round. If that is not success, what is? I'm going to miss Morocco, though.
Bola Johnson, UK

I think the five represent the best we have at the moment from the continent, with Cameroon and Senegal poised for good performances. South Africa will be also rans, Nigeria is an aging team. Tunisia, as usual, cannot go past round one. Cameroon, the Olympic champions, are my bet for Africa.
Tony Yeboah-asare, Ghana

"ole nde ma okara,ndi ibi gi a' ba'otu!" That is an old Igbo saying. Yes, all five deserved their places, especially Nigeria. No disrespect to Liberia, but Africa needs strong representatives in this global competition. If it is any consolation, George Weah has to be the greatest footballer out of Africa.
Ife Oleka Ntima, Nigeria

I am proud of all of them

Yemi Adeniran, US/Nigeria
I would love to substitute South Africa with either Egypt or Morroco. I think South Africa constitutes the weakest link in the African contingent.
Che Sunday, Cameroon/USA

A writer once said: "Beware what you wish for┐. But I knew Nigeria was going to qualify. They deserved it and I hope and pray for their success in Japan and Korea next year. Bravo!
Abdulai Massaquoi, Sierra Leone

Oh yes, any African country deserves a place in the World Cup. Winning is not everything, but attitude, sportsmanship and representation. Give African teams all the training and get rid of refs discrimination and they can easily win the World Cup.
Olalekan Adesokan, US

All the five teams deserved to represent Africa for their hard fought victories. However, Cameroon and Nigeria are not new to World Cup competition, and they are going to improve on their performances in previous appearances. I am proud of all of them.
Yemi Adeniran, US/Nigeria

I strongly believe that Liberia has finally emerged as a World Cup contender in Africa

Morlu Marvie, Liberia
I want to personally congratulate the Lone Star of Liberia for their relentless effort in trying to qualify for the World Cup. I also want to congratulate the five African nations that are representing Africa. I strongly believe that Liberia has finally emerged as a World Cup contender in Africa.
Morlu Marvie, Liberia

I believe these are the strongest teams Africa can send. I see Nigeria, Cameroon and Senegal advancing to the knockout stages. Look for the Super Eagles to do Africa proud and atone for their early exit last time out.
Stephen Obianwu, US

I strongly believe that all the African countries that qualify really have a chance of making it in the World Cup. They really all deserve and merit their qualification. I wish them the best of luck come 2002.
Chudy Uche, Netherlands

These teams have worked their way to the World Cup

Lilian Kimeto, Kenya
These teams have worked their way to the World Cup. If Cameroon for example, brought home the Olympic gold are they not a force to reckon with? These teams are as good as those from other continents and not mediocre as many think.
Lilian Kimeto, Kenya

The five countries representing Africa in the World Cup have a great football history. Let's look at each of them:

Nigeria - A great country with tons of talent and is definitely a fierce challenger
Cameroon - Experience with young spirited players
Tunisia - Country near to Italy and has a soccer style like Italy
South Africa - Experienced, confident and strong-hearted
Senegal - A new soccer style is born: Zouk, Soukoos.

Good luck to all African Countries. Let's all unite to make Africa proud!
Kushal, Mauritius Island/ USA

The five countries representing Africa in the World Cup are a good choice

Albert P'Rayan, Rwanda
The five countries representing Africa in the World Cup are a good choice. One of the countries will enter semi-finals and will come off with flying colours. Nigeria and Cameroon are competent and talented enough to enter the semi-finals.
Albert P'Rayan, Rwanda

History has shown that the so-called "big teams" like Nigeria, South Africa and Cameroon are but spent forces. Nigeria, for instance, will be making it to the finals for a third consecutive time but without any indelible imprint on world football. Tunisia's performance in the last tournament in France was quite below standard and the indications are that there is little they can offer this time around. Cameroon, with a bit of luck and fair play, is the most promising of the "big teams". Liberia would have made a good combination with Senegal as the mood, spirit and motivation of the players are quite high; exactly what Africa needs at this point to at least make it to the quarter-finals.
Ernest Cole, The Gambia/ Sierra Leone

These are the best teams and we must give them all our support.
Mosali Mansa, Sierra Leone

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See also:

30 Jul 01 | Africa
Preparation is the key
29 Jul 01 | Africa
African World Cup round-up
04 Jan 02 | World Cup
World Cup Tables
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