World Cup 2006: Ghana, Africa's Last Hope
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World Cup 2006: Ghana, Africa's Last Hope

Kasozi has lost faith.

By Ramathan Kasozi
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First published: June 23, 2006

When perennial World cup African representatives, Cameroon, Nigeria, South Africa and 2002 World Cup heroes Senegal failed to make it to Germany for the 2006 World Cup, the African soccer fraternity welcomed the development, hoping for a change in the misfortunes that had haunted the black man's continent for long.

However, basing on the current display of African teams and statistics, this might turn to be one of the worst campaigns for Africa in over two decades.

By press time, already Ivory Coast, Togo and Angola had packed their belongings only waiting for the next flight to Africa. The Cathage Eagles of Tunisia are on the verge of joining the trio while the only hope to have an ambassador in the last 16 is in Ghana who USA late this evening East African time.( By time of publication Ghana had won 2-1)

This has prompted the same soccer fraternity to suspect the credibility of the aphorism that new brooms sweep better than the older ones.

The early exit of the new African representatives proves my pre-tournament prediction that they were all as good as tourists but not as competitors after judging them by their failure to get out the group stages of the African cup finals early this year in Egypt.

Save for Ivory Coast, the rest of the new representatives, Togo, Angola and Ghana, didn't survive the group stages of the African cup.

There is no doubt that African football has drastically improved in all soccer artistry like ball control, passing, game reading, and crossing among others. Unlike in the past, it's now common for an African team to dominate any powerhouse in all departments.

The Ivory Coast vs. Argentina and Netherlands games, Ghana against Italy and Czech Republic games, Angola up against Mexico to mention but a few, prove my argument.

This is in addition to their inheritary physical advantage. While the whites acquire their stamina from the gym, Africans just suckle strength from their mom's breast.

But all said, unless the inferiority complex, ambition, displine, patriotism, belief and disorganization change, the status quo in world football will prevail.

With Ivory Coast assembling the likes of work horse Koro Toure , lion hearted Emmanuel Ebue and Boka in defence, supported by mid field conductor Didier Zokora with Arouna Kone, Dindane and iron man Didier Drogba dictating the matters in front, many Africans are left with a mythical belief that God dislikes them, over looking the above doctrines.

Togo, even before the tournament kicked off, was more or less disorganized. Some of the goals they have let in were conceded even before stepping on the field. The mere participation in the world's most prestigious soccer showpiece seemed to have satisfied them. This probably explains why they could not even wait for the 'tour' as they were the first contingent among all participants to arrive in Berlin, a month after their juju man jetted in to foretell their fortunes in the tournament.

After their meager performance in the African cup of Nations, Steven Keshi, was axed from the coaching job and replaced by a German Otto Pfister, forgetting that it's the same man who broke the jinx of the tiny West African nation of not appearing in the one month tournament ever since its establishment.

Prior to the kick off of the tournament, as other teams were hitting headlines on their preparations, the Togolese were hitting theirs on the nasty allowance war in the camp that propelled even Otto to resign only to make a U-turn on the eleventh hour.

Despite taking an early lead in their opening game against South Korea, the minds of the Africans seemed to be elsewhere, probably on how much each player is supposed to receive after the game and by the end of the 90 minutes , the score board was reading 2-1 in favor of the Asians.

Disorganization, lack of ambition, patriotism and discipline climaxed in the camp, as it only needed the intervention of the World's governing body FIFA, for Pfister's boys to honor their second encounter against Switzerland, in which they were clobbered 2-0.

For Angola, because of the disbelief, they had to celebrate a 1-nil loss to their former colonial masters Portugal, while Tunisia, despite having some experience in the tournament, lack of ambition was evident as they had to wait for an injury strike from Jaid to grab a point from minors Saudi Arabia.

If you can't get maximum points from Saudi Arabia , isn't it total madness expecting to do so against the likes of Spain?

Meanwhile, after Ghana and Ecuador posting some remarkable results, Ugandan soccer fans have tipped Ugandan Cranes to have filled the boots of some teams in the prestigious tournament and leave a mark.

According to FM radio and Television listeners and viewers phone calls, they are basing their arguments on the fact that both the Ecuador and Ghana have ever fallen prey to the Uganda Cranes.

The Cranes late December last year come from a goal down to beat the South Americans in the LG cup hosted by Egypt thanx to the former Police FC famous MU-MU partnership of Muwanga Martin and Massa Godfrey.

While for Ghana, they seem to feel more comfortable facing the World's number two Czech Republic than the Uganda Cranes not so long ago.

The West African soccer power house, missed the Tunisia 2004 African Cup finals with the Cranes being the key blockade in their way. They were pooled together in group 5, and the Cranes piped them 1-nil in the 1st leg courtesy of Phillip Obwin strike before settling for a 1 all draw in the 2nd leg in Accra.

The two rivals were once again grouped together in this year's Africa and world cup qualifiers, drew 1 all in the 1st leg at Namboole before, the depleted Cranes lost 2-nil in Accra.

You can only dispute their opinion on your own peril, but they should be aware that, it's the same story of dis-organization, little belief, patriotism and inferiority complex that has ruined Uganda from making it to the African Cup finals, since Ghana 1978 finals, leave alone mentioning qualifying for the World Cup.

By Ramathan Kasozi
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First published: June 23, 2006
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Ramathan Kasozi is a member of Ultimate Media Consult (U) Ltd. . A graduate Journalist, Kasozi has more than 5 years experience reporting on sports in Uganda for different print and broadcast media houses.