Ghana's victory over the USA yesterday has lifted a continent sorely disappointed with its performance in this World Cup. Why didn't great teams from Nigeria and Cameroon do better?
Johannesburg, South Africa
When the World Cup trophy was handed over to South Africa’s president, Jacob Zuma, at the draw for the finals in Cape Town last December, he joked that it would be staying on the continent after the tournament was over. Aside from politicians searching for soundbites, few on the continent believed an African team would win the World Cup. But nor did many expect that five of Africa’s six representatives would crash out in the first round.
Ghana’s achievement in reaching the quarterfinals by beating the US, which matches Cameroon in 1990 and Senegal in 2002, does not mask the sense of disappointment that Africa has missed an opportunity.
Each of the five teams who failed to shine have their own reasons, from the infighting that blighted Cameroon’s campaign to the difficult draw which made Ivory Coast’s progress all but impossible. But many African football experts have put the blame on a combination of poor planning and a lack of investment in youth development.