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Wednesday, 12 June, 2002, 12:08 GMT 13:08 UK
World Cup: Any chance of African glory?
African football has made giant strides since Egypt became the first African nation to play in a World Cup in 1934. But still no African team has made the semi-finals.
In 1990, Cameroon stunned reigning champions Argentina 1-0 in the first game of the tournament, only to succumb to England in the quarter-finals.
Nigeria thrilled everyone with their gifted players in 1998 but were comprehensively beaten by Denmark in the second phase.
Some doubt African teams have the discipline for World Cup glory, although this year's participants, Cameroon, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa and Tunisia boast plenty of raw talent.
What are their chances? Will there ever be an African winner of the World Cup?
This debate is now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.
We as Africans are delighted with the little progress we have made in Football. My dream for this world cup is a worthy performance which would earn our boys good contracts abroad and increase FIFA investment in African football. The pride of the cup will come later when our lot improves. No point having gold on an empty stomach. Olympic medals have not changed much in Nigeria or Cameroon but our tummies are empty.
Eddie Toh, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
African players have already won the World Cup, and more than once! You can simply add up the number of players from African descent who played in World Cup winning teams. Therefore, the question is not if an African nations team will win the Cup but when. I don't think it will happen this year, but I am sure it will not take another generation.
Almost all past world cup winning coaches spent at least two years to organise and instil the necessary discipline and tactics required to be a winner. This is not the case in Africa. If Cameroon can retain their coach till 2006, they will be serious contenders in Germany 2006.
Vincent Shiluli, Northridge, Los Angeles
Two world cups back, it appeared quite inconceivable and far-fetched for anyone to entertain the thought that an African team can win the world cup. I think many people are inching to the realization that an African has the full potential of winning. To me that is a significant step into appreciating the talents we have on the continent.
It is more a matter of less experience than lack of discipline or individual talents. Exposure to high level and international tournaments has shown a steady increase in performance by African teams. German & France stunned many when they won their cups,... out of experience mainly.
A surprise may be in making to have indeed more than one African Team reaching the Quarter finals and at least one competing for the cup in the final match. Indeed, the World cup 2002 trophy may be heading to Africa. Stay tuned and have fun!
Mussie Melles, USA
There is too much focus on Cameroon, and it might prove to be an easier task for Nigeria to pull greater results due to the fact that the entire world has pretty much written off the Super Eagles chances. But all in all both teams have the stage at their disposal to prove to the world what African football is all about, the talent is definitely there. In any case, I'll keep in my prayers Members of the Super Eagles of Nigeria (We have not lost faith in you guys) and The Lions Of Cameroon for a blessed outing and encouraging results.
Will there ever be an African winner of the cup? The real question should be: Which African team is going to win the cup? I am correcting this question because it's impossible that two African teams play the finals and the cup doesn't go to Africa. We will all be witnesses.
The odds are against any of the African teams winning the Cup. I will consider the games a success if TWO African teams make it to the second round with at least one getting to the quarter finals. The skills of other teams cannot be discounted just because the African teams have improved. Having said that, I am hoping for one, if not two teams to make it to the semis.
There is no doubt in my mind that Africa now has what it takes to win the World Cup. In particular, Cameroon on their day can give any of the participating teams real value for money. My only worry is that African teams are very often victims of some very poor and biased refereeing decisions at the World Cup tournament. This to me will be the main stumbling block.
It is a time for African football to surprise the world. Cameroon or the Nigerians have enough strength to do this. Thus, now is the time to bring the cup to our continent. May God bless them.
Kingsley Lington, Sierra Leone/UK
Africa's participation in this year's World Cup will bring surprises that the world will long remember. I am convinced that Cameroon and Nigeria will make it past the quarter finals and God willing, one of them, will no doubt bring the World Cup to Africa where it belongs.
I have a feeling that World Cup 2002 will be Africa's best outing yet.
Addis Bekele, Seattle, USA
African teams like Nigeria and Cameroon have all it takes to stun the world with a semi-final place and even a spot in the final of the world's greatest football feast. Some might think I am daydreaming but after all was it not an African team that won the cup for France in 1998?
Football fever is definitely gripping Africa hard and Cameroon is definitely the most favourite of all. The time has come when all Africans have to come together and fight for their sport. Go Cameroon!
I believe Africa will capture the World Cup one day soon. What we really need to do to realise our goal is to equip our teams with adequate resources and support to match the challenges of modern soccer.
Cameroon has won every tournament it has participated in over the past 2 years including Olympic gold and back-to-back nations cups. We boast of world class players that ply their trade for big European teams. The Lions have the team spirit, courage, confidence, skill, and determination. With a little bit of luck Cameroon will to make Africa proud by bagging the hardware this summer.
Africa is far from achieving the glory of winning the world cup. At almost every World Cup tournament, African teams are plagued with problems of remuneration, discipline, accommodation and at times maturity of players. Even in cases where Africa's performance have been superb, as in Nigeria in USA '94 and Cameroon in France '98, victory, in terms of goals scored, cannot be consolidated. We always end up throwing away our victory. Africa's hope in Japan/South Korea is in Cameroon. They are the most likely team to make it to the Quarter Finals and that requires hard word and dedication as well.
Realistically only Cameroon have a chance of winning. They are in the easier half of the draw plus their players have been together since 1998 and they have proved they are winners. Allez les Lions! Vive le Cameroun!
The stage is set for an African country to win the World Cup. I am tipping either Cameroon, Senegal or Nigeria to represent Africa in the finals and ultimately win the cup. In order for this to happen all three countries' players must be disciplined and exercise extreme self control. The foreign coaches of Senegal and Cameroon must put their professional commitment to their teams ahead of their patriotism to their countries of origin. Lastly the players have to be at their absolute best. If all these elements combine I know the African countries of Senegal, Nigeria or Cameroon can win the cup this year.
The 2002 World Cup will be won by Cameroon. I am absolutely sure of this.
The potential is there should the teams show commitment. I hope Nigeria or Cameroon can grab the World Cup. One of these teams will make the European countries sweat.
I believe that baring all officiating hick-ups and bottlenecks, Nigeria and Cameroon should be able to make it past the quarter finals. If African teams were able to beat the likes of Brazil and Argentina to claim the Commonwealth Cups, then they are likely to go past the quarter finals in the World Cup. It is probably time for us to start asking questions regarding how fair African players are treated in the world's most sensational edge-of-your seat game.
This probably may not bring the cup to Africa but it might bring the best performance out of the teams.
We should all just sit back and enjoy the game. Remember most of us never really believe an African nation can win the Atlanta Olympics, yet Nigeria did it.
So let's wait and see. There might be a big surprise in the offing.
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