South Africa

Africa’s World Cup hasn’t actually been good for Africa because it’s very likely that only one African team Ghana will represent the continent in the second round. Bafana Bafana, the home side, are out though they did well, as are Algeria, Nigeria, and Cameroon. The Ivory Coast (Cote d’Ivoire) look set to follow them out as well because they’ll need to score at least seven goals to beat North Korea plus Portugal to lose to Brazil without scoring in order to qualify. In other words, that’s not going to happen. Former Nigerian star Jay Jay Okocha sounded off on Africa’s “misery,” blaming a lack of passion by star players and bad administration by local football administrators. I’m disappointed by Africa’s poor showing as well, but certainly Ghana and Ivory Coast were in the toughest groups. The Black Stars (Ghana) have advanced though, and as my favorite African team since 2006, they’ll have my continued support. One thing I can’t help noticing, especially with Nigeria and Cameroon and even Ivory Coast, is that they seem to get flustered easily when they trail and things aren’t going too good for them. You can see players getting annoyed with each other or showing a lack of teamwork in those moments. They lack the composure you see with teams from other continents and maybe this shows a lack of strong team unity and spirit. Against South Korea, I saw Nigerian players on the bench standing up and gesturing wildly at their teammate on the field after he missed an easy chance to score in the second half. They looked like they were telling him to get off the pitch and I don’t think it was really encouraging or useful.  Anyways, I’m hoping for Ghana to beat the U.S. and go through to the quarterfinals.

Africa’s World Cup also hasn’t seen too many Africans, with only around 40,000 tickets being bought by African fans (not counting the home nation of course). In fairness, outside of England and the U.S., not many non-African nations seem to have had many fans come to the games, including European sides like Germany. Africa is the continent that South Africa is on, but it’s hard for some Africans to get here as some African nations don’t even have direct air links. Then, it’s not a secret that not many Africans are able to buy tickets and get here; FIFA’s decision to only sell tickets to overseas fans only through the Internet being a not so good decision given the Internet isn’t widely available or used in much of this continent. Hell, where I’m staying has got broadband but it’s still slow. It would have been a much better, or at least livelier and colorful World Cup if more African fans were able to come to the games, such as the Nigeria-South Korea game. There were some Nigerian fans, but not enough, and they were definitely outdone by the more loud and active Korean fans.