Masinga defends Africa’s performance



Phil Masinga defends Africa’s 2014 World Cup performance
The failure of African teams to reach the quarter-finals
of the 2014 World Cup must be viewed in context, argues ex-South Africa
striker Phil Masinga.

Africa’s poor return in Brazil is likely to cast a dark
shadow on the possibility of Fifa increasing the number of teams from
the continent that will take part in the 2018 showcase.

Only two
out of five African teams – Nigeria and Algeria – progressed beyond the
group stages of this year’s edition of the competition.

They were both eliminated in the last 16 stage to complete another miserable World Cup for Africa.

Prior
to the tournament, Safa president Danny Jordan unsuccessfully attempted
to convince a Fifa Congress in Sao Paulo to consider greater
representation for African countries in future World Cups as well as on
the Fifa executive.

“It is always thrown in our face that no
African team has ever gone beyond the quarter-final stage, with only
Cameroon and Ghana having progressed that far,” he told the media
shortly after the congress.

However despite the fact that no
African team made it beyond the second round of the tournament, retired
South African football legend Phil Masinga says the elimination of the
continent’s representatives should be understood in the correct context.

“It was a tough World Cup for Africa,” the former Leeds United and Bafana Bafana striker tells    

“To start with, the teams were placed in very difficult groups.”

“It
was always going to be tough on Cameroon, who were placed in a group
that also included Brazil, Mexico and Croatia. It was never going to be
easy for them.

“Nigeria and Algeria did well in their respective
groups. We are quick to forget that Algeria scored five [Ed: four]
goals against South Korea, a record for an African country in the World
Cup,” adds Masinga.

“That two African teams made it to the
second round of the tournament means that they are among the 16 best
teams in the world, which is an achievement. Do not forget that the
World Cup is only contested by the very best teams in the world,”
Masinga explains.

On Africa’s representation in the World Cup,
Masinga believes results alone must not be the barometer upon which such
decisions are made.

“Increasing the number of African teams
participating in the World Cup will have a positive effect in terms of
the development of the game,” he argues.

“In football, the results may not always mean that one team is better than the other.”

While
Africa had five representatives at this year’s World Cup, Europe
boasted 13 teams, South America six while Central/North America and Asia
provided four each.


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