Football is not a matter of life or death, it is more important than that

The African Teams

The African Teams

This week, late in March 2009, is an international week, a gap from the wonders of the premiership and all the focus is on who will qualify for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. So yeah maybe this is finally the time for me to start this section of

Pele once famously predicted that an African country would win the football world cup by the year 2000, and here we are, for the first time a world cup competition will take place in the African continent. And I for one am really not sure it is the best idea. I have nothing against Africa or South Africa for that matter, and it is fair to add that SA hosted a good Rugby world cup and will shortly be the temporary home of crickets IPL, but football is different. Just like Pele’s prediction football in Africa still has some way to go.

It is true that today, there are far more African players plying their trade in the world’s top leagues, and that some are seriously good and playing at the very top teams, Toure at Arsenal, Drogba at Chelsea, Eto for Barcelona are just three examples, and yes there are quite a few more. And with the 2010 competition being held in Africa could this finally be the competition where Pele’s prediction comes true. Well for me, the answer has to be, not a chance.

From what I can see the host nation is not in the top 5 of African football nations, and a world cup where the host nation does not perform really well will always lose something special. And while the other countries in the region all appear to have one or two real stars they just don’t appear to have enough either in their first team or in the full squad that is always needed. Yes of course World Cups are always about the new star s that appear for the first time, the up and coming player that no one outside the country really knows about, it is also a competition that somehow creates a star, usually unexpected, and so yes that may be an African player, but in today’s modern world that is so much less likely and so it would be, for me, a real surprise if an African country were to win it, even with it being in their part of the world.

This section of will of course grow over the next few months as we start on the road to SA2010, as we know more about the various qualifiers, I am sure I will have something to say about each, or at least most of them. Equally, and lets hope it is the case, I will be able to comment on those who don’t make it, and in Europe there does look like a few surprises possible. I have my doubts about the 2010 world cup, I have reservations about SA being the right place for it, but I am so looking forward to being proved wrong and as always I am so looking forward to the whole competition.


© 2008 Paul Kavanagh. All rights reserved.