Where it went wrong for African teams at the World Cup
July 2, 2014 7:27 AM   Subscribe

As the last of the African teams exits at the Round of 16, filmmaker and columnist Farai Sevenzo looks at the state of African football, bedevilled by the perennial problems of poor organisation, tactical indiscipline and rows over money. [BBC]
posted by marienbad (10 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Let's not forget the match fixing allegations involving the Cameroon team, who went three and out with 0 points.

You're not going to advance if seven of your players are deliberately throwing matches for money.
posted by eriko at 7:44 AM on July 2, 2014

I'm glad the article tries to rationalize the actions of some of the teams (i.e. refusal to play, board the plane). Up to now, most media purposely or inadvertently portrays these players as overpaid, greedy babies, but a part of me feels that their actions are a protest of the greater corruption of the political system that seems to be diverting all the money away.

Who knows, maybe they are overpaid, greedy babies, but maybe there's more to the story than what we see on the surface.
posted by bitteroldman at 7:55 AM on July 2, 2014 [1 favorite]

The convicted match-fixer is denying that he predicted "that the result of the match will be a 4-0-victory for Croatia and that a player of Cameroon will get a red card in the first half." "
posted by marienbad at 7:57 AM on July 2, 2014

On a continent where unelected presidents at times dictate the team sheet it is hard for a coach to assert your authority.

Throw in chronic ineptitude, corruption, matchfixing and terrible training facilities, it's amazing that two teams managed the last 16.

Shame, though.
posted by fordiebianco at 8:03 AM on July 2, 2014

It is Wednesday afternoon in Ivory Coast, the country where we’ve been told that soccer can end wars. And here in Abidjan, tucked behind a row of concrete homes decorated with clotheslines and satellite dishes, we have a staging ground for just the sort of scene that draws foreign sports reporters to town. Teenagers nod their heads to the French hip-hop bleating from their cell phones. Old men huddle together, sharing a patch of shade. Orange Peugeot taxis belch exhaust to be inhaled by the motorcyclists who trail behind them. And right there, on the large dirt clearing that sits in the center of it all, there are children playing soccer on a former battlefield.

Scenes like this evoke a famous legend about Ivory Coast: During the mid-2000s, this neighborhood, Yopougon, played host to some of the worst violence in this country’s civil war. Yet that war ended in 2007, thanks in large part to the unifying force of the Ivorian national soccer team and the desperate pleas from Didier Drogba, Les Elephants’ striker and the country’s biggest star.

Or so the story goes.
posted by ChuraChura at 8:14 AM on July 2, 2014

This "World Cup" thing that people are always going on about is all very well, but a nation-based competition can be somewhat exclusionary and shelter national self-interest (not to mention corruption). What I'd also like to see is a continent-based competition, where all-star teams from (e.g.) Europe and the Middle East, North & Central America, South America, Eurasia, South Asia & Oceania, Africa and Antarctica all play one another. That way you'd ensure that all the best players would play in the top competition (e.g. Gareth Bale!) and fans from different countries would be pulling together for a common cause, sharing joy across sometimes-fractious borders. Administration would be cleaner and more efficient, as specific national and personal interests would be necessarily subjected to a greater set of checks and balances. Also the Antarctic team would be ten penguins with a sea lion in goal, and who wouldn't love that! ... until goalkeeper sea lion started eating his central defenders, of course.
posted by the quidnunc kid at 8:44 AM on July 2, 2014 [3 favorites]

Who's going to show a red card to a sea lion, eh? Tell me that.
posted by languagehat at 9:12 AM on July 2, 2014 [5 favorites]

posted by marienbad at 9:24 AM on July 2, 2014 [1 favorite]

World Cup is a civilized, scheduled outlet for nationalistic urges. I'd much rather people engage in competition and destruction on the battleground of a football turf than in any other arena.

Regular, world-wide sporting events, and consistent country-wide sports leagues is a brilliant invention. We can't thank one specific individual but if we could, they deserve a peace prize. I'm completely serious here.
posted by St. Peepsburg at 11:55 AM on July 2, 2014 [2 favorites]

I haven't been following the media portrayal of the Ghana money issues, but I do know that there's a fair amount of fan support for the players over the corrupt bureaucrats who routinely take money that's supposed to go to the players/team. It's an open secret that the FIFA money goes into the wrong pockets and I'm encouraged by the number of people I saw talking about it during game threads elsewhere on the web.
posted by that's candlepin at 1:33 PM on July 2, 2014

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