The first ever FIFA World Cup on the African continent is currently on in South Africa. But the local sides haven't been able to really convince us that African football has come of age in their first round of matches. Only Ghana was able to win their match, hosts South Africa and Ivory Coast earned draws, while the others in Nigeria, Algeria and Cameroon lost.
Two decades ago Cameroon had made it to the quarterfinals of the 1990 FIFA World Cup in Italy and many had thereafter said that African football has arrived on the world stage. It was expected that an African side would make it to the finals of a football World Cup in the coming editions, but since 1990 African sides have shown a lot of potential but not the desired results. And at the end of the day only results count.
Nowadays African players are playing for the best sides across Europe, are key players in their respective clubs but when these players return to their national sides they don't seem to be able to deliver the goods. Are the real leaders on the field missing? Or is it a problem that the whole team isn't of a high standard?
Many hoped that on home soil the African sides could utilise the advantage in their favour, but they haven't been able to turn around the world order of football, maybe not just yet. Lets hope they can turn this around in the coming matches. But what was evident is that these teams lack quality strikers or even top strikers sadly become ordinary like a Samuel Eto'o for Cameroon.
The hosts South Africa have actually been one of the better performers from Africa, while Ghana like in the last World Cup are the only African side which looked like they could get far in the tournament. Their 1-0 win against Serbia came off a penalty, but it as a good game.
Cameroon have been the biggest disappointment, but there seems to be something wrong in their team otherwise such a performance against Japan is unexplainable. They have quality players and talented youngsters, but they showed nothing of that against Japan.
Nigeria faced a strong Argentina, but didn't know how to score otherwise it could have been a more interesting encounter, while Algeria looked overawed by the occasion. In the end they lost due to a goalkeeping blunder but goals of their own looked rather unlikely against Slovenia.
Ivory Coast played better then Portugal, but as a potential candidate for a place in the last eight more should be expected from them. But once Didier Drobga is back in form and his broken elbow no longer a topic, then the Ivorians could be a dangerous outfit as they then have a striker who can deliver the goods. They lacked that against Portugal, still this time around their defence is much stronger then it was four years ago in Germany.