Editor’s Note: As the 2018 World Cup in Russia progressed we assigned Ife Nwosu to give us a scorecard of what was happening. Here you’ll find Ife’s observations, first recorded in July.
This year’s World Cup is taking place in Russia. And as always, the competition is fierce,
especially among the four African countries still participating. Even though Egypt, Senegal, Tunisia, and Morocco still have a decent chance of winning, they seem to be lacking in the World Cup. Portugal beat Morocco one to zero, and Russia beat Egypt three-to-one. But on the bright side, Nigeria beat Iceland two-to-zero.
The match between Nigeria and Iceland was particularly interesting. The playing started
off slow with both countries lacking in agility. But once Nigeria kicked the ball into Iceland’s goal, the playing sped up. And Iceland didn’t look happy. But Nigeria scored a second time, moving them to an impressive second place in Group D.
According to Volker Finke, the reason for Africa’s lack of success has “less to do with
sports and more with the organization…and infrastructure[.]” He states that this is why North African teams are stronger as they are more structured within their training camps. Finke’s claim is precise. Athletes need the proper amount of resources, shelter, and nutrition so they can keep their heads in the game.
What’s interesting about Africa’s participation in the World Cup is that no African team
has ever made it to the semi-finals. Nigeria has been an active country in the World Cup, participating six times in the tournament. Argentina has been a frequent opponent of Nigeria, however, Nigeria has never won against them, making them more pumped for this year’s tournament.
2018 marks the fifth time Morocco has engaged in the World Cup, however, their lack of
defense, strategy, and organization has kept them from winning, time and time again.
Egypt is the most successful team out of all the African countries in the World Cup,
winning the Africa Cup of Nations an impressive seven times. However, even with all of Egypt’s astounding stats, it wasn’t enough to get them to the finish line.
Tunisia is a special case. They have been participating in the Cup a total of five teams
and it wasn’t easy for them to make it to any of the major finals. However, the North African country has learned from its mistakes and recently invited Rani Khedira to join its team, showing that there is strength in numbers.
Senegal is the highest-ranked out of all African teams, with a current score of 27 on the FIFA world ranking board. However, Senegal’s lack of experience might be the cause of them not making it to the semi-finals.