Sunday, May 26, 2024

Southern African football going down the drain

It is almost clear about the countries that will represent Africa at next year’s World Cup in Brazil. The top 10 countries in Africa have already identified themselves and will play in the two legged playoffs in October and November to finally determine the final five.

The draw will however be made next week. What however is glaringly clear is that of the 10 countries there is not even a single team from Southern Africa. This automatically means there will be no country from Southern Africa at next year’s World Cup.

Of the 10 countries that have made it to the last round six are from West Africa while two are from North Africa. The six countries are Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Nigeria and Senegal. From North Africa there are two countries being Algeria and Egypt.

The other two countries are Cape Verde and Ethiopia. Cape Verde is an island nation about 350 miles off the coast of West Africa while Ethiopia is at the horn of Africa. With six countries from West Africa, this means chances of having many representatives from that region are very high.

It can also be borne in mind that at this year Under 17 Africa Youth Championships there was only one country representing the region, being Botswana.

The acting Technical Director of the Botswana Football Association, Philmon Makgwengwe told The Telegraph Sports that the situation is a dire one and needs urgent attention. He said that means something is wrong with the way things are done.

“Definitely something is wrong somewhere and we need to up our game. The so called strongest teams in the region are struggling and we need to find a common ground to rectify it. Just know that other regions in Africa have their own tournaments and in Southern Africa we had ours being COSAFA. It then disappeared for some time and it has just come back,” he said. Makgwengwe also lamented the lack of unity in the Southern African region which he said has a hand in the situation.

He said West Africa has an upper hand because they are a united force compared to other regions.

“Honestly speaking, West African countries are united and that is why they are doing well. We should adopt the same approach in Southern Africa. The Western nations are even causing Southern Africa to be disunited and we should desist that. Other Southern African countries have this big brother mentality and that also should come to an end or else we will keep on watching other regions succeeding while we lag behind,” he said. Even Club African competitions have for a long time been dominated by both North and West Africa. The first and last time a Southern African team won African champions league was in 1995 by Orlando Pirates.


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