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2010 World Cup – More African Teams Lose First Matches
African teams participating in this year’s World Cup have so far played their first group stage matches winning one match (16.66%), drawing two matches (33.33%) and losing three matches (50 %). This is not very impressive, considering the fact that Africa has 6 teams participating in the tournament on its soil.
Only Ghana was able to win their first match; South Africa and Ivory Coast each drew their matches, while Nigeria, Algeria and Cameroon lost all their matches. To be fair to Nigeria, losing to a great team like Argentina was not a particularly poor performance. That’s because Argentina paraded with 4 deadly strikers – Lionel Messi, Gonzalo Higuain, Carlos Tevez and Diego Milito (Don’t forget Messi is the current World Footballer of the Year). Nigeria actually put in a superlative performance to be able to contain the ferocious Argentine attack. Nigeria goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama was voted Man of the Match and is currently rated as one of the best goalkeepers in the tournament.
Algeria played well against Slovenia but lost the game after their striker Abdelkader Ghezzal was sent off for deliberate ball handling in the second half. The Slovenians took advantage of being down a man to defeat the North African side. So far of all the teams that have lost their opening games, Cameroon have disappointed the fans the most, losing 0-1 to lowly Japan. That loss to Japan has now dimmed their chances of advancing in a group that still has the Netherlands and Denmark. Cameroon now need to win their last two games or at least win one and draw the other if they hope to get out of that group.
South Africa got off to a good start in the first game against Mexico, drawing against Mexico, who had previously beaten world champions Italy in a pre-World Cup friendly. Siphiwe Tshabalala was voted Man of the Match. Coted’ivoire also gave a very good account of themselves as they held Portugal to a goalless draw. With Didier Drogba sitting on the bench for the better part of the match, the Ivorians were able to stop the Portuguese (with Cristiano Ronaldo|) from scoring against them.
All hope is not lost for Africa, as the participating teams still have chances to progress to the second round and beyond. All they have to do is believe in themselves and take each game as it comes. All kinds of fear must be dispelled; they would play better if they stayed focused and fearless against their opponents. The fans are strongly behind them; the environment is friendly for them to perform well. They should also remember that only once has a continent hosted and lost the trophy (Korea/Japan 2002). This may just be the chance for an African team to win the World Cup. Good luck to you all.
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