Following a below-par performance in Russia, for the first time in 32 years, the World Cup last 16 will not feature an African team, writes MARSHALL GOUTS.
I am beyond despair.
After watching Nigeria succumb to a last-gasp 2-1 loss to familiar foes Argentina, I had more hope for Senegal who, up until this game week, was the only African country not to have recorded a defeat.
Mind you, I am of the opinion that our African countries showed too much respect to their opponents during the 2018 World Cup, often opting to get behind the ball and play for a point, rather than opting to play their usual attack-minded football.
The controversial VAR system also didn’t help Africa’s cause, with the so-called technological advance in football often being to Africa’s detriment.
Upon the conclusion of game week one in Russia, there were seemingly evident weaknesses in the African teams’ execution.
Of the five opening games, only Senegal managed to record victory, while three of the four teams – namely Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia – narrowly lost by one goal, with the goal being conceded from a set piece between the 85-90th minutes.
Following this dismal showing, expect the quality of African football to be called into question and picked apart, which I suppose is OK – if the intended aim is improvement, which is desperately needed.
Senegal can feel hard done by (by the ‘fair play’ rules), but then they were naive too. Basically playing for a draw. At one point Mane was showboating with the score 0-0. Another disappointing tournament for African teams. Not one in the second round.
— IG: @Africasacountry (@africasacountry) June 28, 2018
Now, while I didn’t buy into the hype of VAR or the man in the middle favouring one team, I must admit that I’m slightly angered and absolutely gutted that Senegal are the first-ever team to be eliminated by this new fair play rule.
While I am aggrieved as hell at the moment, I refuse to believe that the referees, rules and VAR have an anti-Africa bias.
Africans are up in arms about Senegal’s elimination from the World Cup because of this fair play rule and although many feel that they were hard done by, rules are rules.
For Africa, this bit of unwanted history should mean one thing and one thing only – back to the drawing board in a bid to return fully equipped and focused four years from now in Qatar.
Rise Africa! Rise!
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