…Local football pundits chip in on performance
AFRICA’S five representatives at the 2018 International Federation of Football Associations (FIFA) World Cup (WC) in Russia have made a good account of themselves at the world football spectacle, pundits who spoke to Confidente say.
Long serving football administrator Cassius Moetie says compared to the 2014 WC in Brazil African countries have shown great improvement and have stood tall against the countries with players playing in the top leagues around the world.
He singled out Morocco for having stood its ground against Spain with an outstanding performance. Commenting on the widely held view that African teams were prone to losing concentration in the dying minutes of the game, Moetie dismissed the claim blaming the late goals against the African teams on lack of endurance, international experience and exposure.
“Mane and Salah of Liverpool and Chelsea’s Victor Moses have performed pretty good in the World Cup. The reason why these players do not stand out like other stars in the World Cup is merely because most of their countrymen in the national teams are not at the same level as they are, but African football enthusiasts often and unfairly have too high expectation on the African football stars,” said Moetie.
He bemoaned the lack of African coaches leading their teams at the World Cup.
“Why are you not seeing African coaches in La Liga? Why are you not seeing African coaches in the Barclays Premiership? Why are you not seeing Africa coaches in the Bundesliga? Why do you mostly see foreign coaches in African Leagues? Does this mean that African coaches are not good enough to coach football and lead national teams up to the finals of the FIFA World Cup?,” asked the pundit. Mathew Haikali, FIFA Regional Futuro III Regional Instructor in Management and Administration, said if one considers the tough journey that most African countries go through to get to the World Cup finals, one can say that there has been an improvement in performance this year although most of it has been experienced by the countries that have most of their players plying their trade in Europe.“This gives them an edge and they can be able to compete at the same level with the European counterparts at the global showpiece,” Haikali said.
“I have been impressed by the dreadlocked African coach from Senegal’s ability to gel players that are not normally under his command, which means the players have matured to be in a position to understand the instruction of a coach, who is not European.”
Moetie said the reason why African teams were not performing well at the World Cup was due to a lack of proper structures where football development starts from very young ages.
“Do we have well managed football academies? Do we have adequate and sufficient football infrastructure? Do we have football administrators who are suitably qualified? Do we have the right balance of private sector and government investment in sport in general? These are the questions we need to answer before blaming Africa coaches for Africa’s poor performance at the FIFA World Cup,” said Moetie, who put his money on Senegal progressing beyond the group stages.
He said African governments must learn from countries with success stories and direct their national football associations to deliver key strategic outcomes.
“Until such a time that African countries realise that we have to make sure that the infrastructure and facilities for games are up to scratch, we will never win the world cup,” said Moetie.
Speaking on the Brave Warriors chances of qualifying for future WC, the football critic painted a gloomy picture, saying chances were nearly zero “unless we do an honest and brutal introspection of Namibian football.”
He said Namibia needs professional and highly academically qualified coaches, medics, sport psychologists, qualified football administrators from youth level up to the NFA level.
“For now, the entire value chain of Namibian football is rotten, from youth development level up to the NFA that is why the Brave Warriors will never qualify for the FIFA World Cup. Winning the COSAFA is good, but it is not great.
Winning the Africa Cup of Nations Senior Men’s Competition or dropping out in the semi-finals is great. And we could not advance beyond the group stages of the African Cup of Nations. How on earth do we expect to qualify for the FIFA World Cup?” he asked.
Wading in on the debate, another sports pundit Isack Hamata said it was not impossible for Namibia to qualify for the World Cup but added that doing so would take a lot of work.
Hamata said countries that have qualified for the current and previous world cups had concrete plans which were strongly backed by politicians, football administrators, plus serious money invested in them.
“Squabbles in our football, lack of political will and mediocre funding will not take us to the world cup, despite the talent we have in Namibia. It is good to hope but that hope must be backed by action which we don’t see currently,” stressed Hamata.
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015