Thomas writes: An open letter to CAF

A week after the sudden shock, I am relieved, to be honest with myself.

How long can we keep trailing in football on the international stage?

I am concerned about the great dip in African momentum gathered over the years in the World Cup’s history. In eyes of many, the world has witnessed.

A sad but a history we will be forced to recall every four years.

How long will this remain a hurdle?

In the history books, it will be written that, in the year 2018, none of the five teams (Tunisia, Egypt, Morocco, Senegal and Nigeria) Africa presented at the World cup made it out of their respective groups to the knockout stage for the first time since 1982.

I can’t console myself but I can describe my pain as I type these words. I still believed Nigeria could equalize although I knew the remaining time seemed impossible so as Senegal. The North Africans showed the world that we can equally dribble, play at the speed of wind although our efforts proved futile in ceiling us at least a spot at the 1/16 stage.

People have spoken about the mentality of the countries that represented Africa at the 2018 FIFA World Cup. Were we unfit to take our chances?

Or was that our African teams were content with just making an appearance at the world cup rather than competing for the ultimate. Africa conceded 25 goals, 10 of which came from set-pieces, 10 more of the goals came in the last 10 minutes of our games. Where was the stamina, we couldn’t defend set-pieces if it were to save our lives?

We celebrated the Nigerian team for their outfits and not their performance on the field of play. And when Nigeria finally recorded a win against Iceland during the second round of group stage matches, the whole of Africa celebrated as if we had won the world cup; the African mentality once again. Regardless, I’m still glad because Nigeria had a nice jersey although they wore it once.

We need not give up. We can still redeem our glory by going back to the drawing board and capitalise on what will work best for us. I know there is Qatar 2022 and USA, Mexico and Canada 2026 but hey, let us not rejoice soon over the increase in slots by FIFA. If we cannot make it out among 32 teams, we would probably be eliminated at the round 1/32 and still not make it to the 1/16 stage if we don’t find the solution now.

I congratulate all the soldiers who fought for Africa on the world stage.

Way forward

•    Africans must change our perception and mentality; we are also capable of being the best in the world. Let’s stop celebrating mediocrity.

•    We need to increase research to help find a collective solution to this problem.

•    The next time we make it to the world cup, Africa needs to represent as a team, not countries.
A team to find the best approach for each country in their respective groups would help.

What you think.
What is the way forward for African football?
Thomas writes: An open letter to CAF Thomas writes: An open letter to CAF Reviewed by RRAJ on 7/05/2018 Rating: 5

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