Former Chelsea of England goal machine and African football legend, Didier Drogba has sent his words of advice to African teams after all five representatives were eliminated from the ongoing Russia 2018 World Cup at the group stage.
Senegal were the last among the African teams to be eliminated after losing out via the fair play rule to Japan with both teams tied on 4 points each in the wake of 1-0 defeat to Colombia, on Thursday.
The West African side were eliminated from the Mundial because they received more yellow cards than Japan. Equal on points and equal on goal difference, but a better discipline record for the Asian team means they advanced ahead of Senegal.
The Super Eagles of Nigeria were five minutes away from qualifying for the round of 16 before Marcos Rojo’s strike gave Argentina a 2-1 win to send the Eagles out of the World Cup.
There were great expectations of the Nigerian football fans when the team qualified for their sixth World Cup appearance but perhaps this squad was too young to achieve at the highest stage.
Their inexperience was exposed against Croatia. They recovered by beating Iceland but came unstuck against their nemesis Argentina who had to win to remain in the tournament.
While the likes of Egypt, Tunisia and Morocco were eliminated from the tournament after their first two games. The fact that they won’t be any African team in the round of 16 at the World Cup for the first time since 1982 has sparked a reaction from Drogba who represented Ivory Coast at two World Cups before retiring from international duty.
“I think it’s a big step back and I think it’s also a chance for all the African teams to reconsider the strategy on how we want to perform in the next World Cup.
“We have the potential and money to develop, but we need more than that. We need to have the consistency and structures like the European/South American teams and with the joy we have for the game on the continent.
We are going to be successful one day, but we need to think how we approach these competitions,” Drogba said.
African Football has been ranking the Five African teams throughout the Group Stages of the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia and unfortunately this will be last feature of this nature as none of the teams managed to qualify for the Knockout Stages.
It’s an absolute disaster. All five African teams were eliminated in the Group Stage, the worst showing by the continent in recent World Cup tournaments.
Morocco can hold their heads high. Drawn in a tough group with the Iberian powerhouses – Portugal and Spain – they were competitive and if they had been more adventurous in their first game against Iran they could have gone further. They had the better of Spain in their final match and deserved more than a point against the 2010 champions.
Tunisia ended on a high winning their first game of the tournament 2-1 against a physical Panama. However, their 5-2 defeat to Belgium reflected their actual ability and they are a couple of levels below the top teams in the world. It was a good showing by a couple of their young players.
Egypt returned home with three defeats. Too reliant on the form of Mo Salah, the north Africans had no plan B in the absence of the Liverpool striker in the first match against Uruguay. However, even with the talisman back in the next two matches they were disappointing against teams they should have the beating of.
All rights reserved. This material, and other digital content on this website, may not be reproduced, published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed in whole or in part without prior express written permission from LEADERSHIP Nigeria Newspapers. Contact: [email protected]