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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.


Your reaction

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.
Dr. Enompang Agbor, Cameroonian/London


I think Asia will take a lot longer than Africa in attaining football glory.

Eddie Toh, Malaysia
I definitely hope the World Cup will go to one of the African countries. African players have the talent, albeit raw, to play in the major league. It's just a matter of time for an African nation to become the world champion. The only question left is: When will an Asian nation hoist the coveted cup? I'm definitely not optimistic. I think Asia will take a lot longer than Africa in attaining football glory.
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.
Jeroen Kleene, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

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.
Abdul Mansaray, Reading UK


It is a team effort more than anything else.

Vincent Shiluli, Los Angeles
I believe there is too much politics in African football. In some cases politicians rather than coaches decide the line-up. Players are also promised heaven but end up with almost nothing due to mismanagement. For those few players who have made it in the career, they develop attitudes/egos that harm teamwork. Players and management need to work together in order for Africa to ever win the world cup. It is a team effort more than anything else. The pros will tell you the same thing.
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.
Norris Lester Tweah, Kalamazoo, Michigan -USA

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!
André Ruhigisha, Victoria, Canada


I think it is possible for an African team to win if only they can avoid the mentality of being underdog

Mussie Melles, USA
I think it is possible for an African team to win if only they can avoid the mentality of being underdog, and aim for number one not the quarter finals. They seem to be very happy in reaching the quarter finals from previous world cup competitions. They have to learn not to underestimate themselves. After all you have to be number one to be called a winner.
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.
Obi Jack-Weze, Liberian in the USA

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.
Elvis Ngassa, Cameroonian in Italy.

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.
Ayo Spencer, USA


Many of us feel that Africa is more prepared for world cup than ever before.

William, Kenya
We have been debating this every day. Many of us feel that Africa is more prepared for world cup than ever before. With that said, there is no doubt that we have a much higher chance of winning world cup. Our boys are ready and well disciplined to show our prowess. Gone are the days when one team dominated world cup. Like it has always been, the best team will. We believe it will be from the black continent
William, Kenya/USA

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.
Tas2020Pr, UK

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.
Daniel Weyessa, Ethiopian in Czech Rep.


They have the players to do the job

Kingsley Lington, Sierra Leone/UK
No doubt an African team will shine. I see Cameroon or Nigeria going all the way. This is their best chance so far, by my estimation, as both countries have prepared for this tournament with unprecedented zeal. And they have the players to do the job.
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.
T. Max Beer, Jr, Liberian, residing in the United States

I have a feeling that World Cup 2002 will be Africa's best outing yet.
Segun Oyedele, Nigerian in South Africa


These teams know they are the hopes and dreams of the continent

Addis Bekele, Seattle, USA
The current African teams are ready to stun, amaze, and bring the cup to Africa where it belongs. It is way overdue for an African team to prevail in the World Cup, because we have been working hard for so long. The draw and the teams the African teams are matched against appear unbeatable, but the African teams will pass this and other insurmountable difficulties such as low expectation and weather and will go all the way. Thus, the teams which represent Africa in the current World Cup are fit to compete physically, skills wise, and psychologically. Further, these teams know they are the hopes and dreams of the continent that is ridden by starvation, disease and war. They will assume their grave responsibility and will bring the cup home.
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?
John M. Kabia, A Sierra Leonean studying in the UK

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!
Sama Japo, Cameroonian in USA

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.
Charles Tubman, Liberian in the USA

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.
Yanni, USA/Cameroon


Africa has just about reached the point where winning the world cup is not a far fetched dream any more.

Tafadzwa, Zimbabwe
As a continent, Africa has just about reached the point where winning the world cup is not a far fetched dream any more. The build up to the tournament has been quite impressive, especially with the wins registered by Nigeria as well as the recent Cameroon draw with England. Even South Africa has shown some improvement after a lacklustre preparation. If only discipline can be maintained within the teams, then the chances of progressing are very high. Money issues should be settled before the world cup so that players can focus on playing football.
Tafadzwa, Zimbabwe/U.S.

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.
Ernest Cole, The Gambia/Sierra Leone

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!
Tinaye, England/Zim


There will be a victorious pair of African hands on the World Cup on 30 June

Muse, Somalia
This is the best chance we have had to win the World Cup. African players will show the whole world their talent and there will be a victorious pair of African hands on the World Cup on 30 June.
Muse, Somalia

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.
Justice Anumu, USA

The 2002 World Cup will be won by Cameroon. I am absolutely sure of this.
L Mantiziba, Mozambique


They have the potential to break this long cycle of bad performances on the world's biggest stage

Okereke, USA/Nigeria
The African teams of today have all it takes to win the World Cup, given the fact that they do not introduce the kind of distractions Nigerian had in their match against Denmark in 1990, when there was controversy over payments. Most African teams of today are no longer what they use to be. I strongly believe that all the African participants will do well in this World Cup. They have the potential to break this long cycle of bad performances on the world's biggest stage.
Okereke, USA/Nigeria

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.
Hella Hamisi, Malawi

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.
Kofi Nkrumah, Canada

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.
Waheed Alabede, Nigerian in US


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