Aliou Cisse has said he’s optimistic of Africa’s chances at winning the ultimate prize in football despite the dismal performance of the continent at this year’s tournament in Russia.
Aliou Cisse, who is the only Black coach at the ongoing World Cup, led Senegal to an unsuccessful outing in Russia.
“I’m certain that one day an African team, an African country, will win the World Cup,” Cisse, who captained his country in 2002 to a stunning quarter-final finish, nevertheless hopes.
“It’s a bit more complicated in our countries. We face realities that are not there in other continents,” he said, referring to infrastructure, budget and organisational problems.
“But Africa is full of quality and we’re on the way. We fully trust our football, we have no hang-ups,” Cisse added.
No African country has ever got as far as the World Cup semi-finals and only three times has the continent had a side progress to the last eight.
“There’s definitely been a decline,” said former Nigeria international Peter Odemwingie, who played at the last two World Cups and is now working as a BBC pundit in Russia.
“Nigeria had one of the best African squads ever at the 1994 World Cup. We were knocking on the door. We won the 1996 Olympics by beating Brazil and Argentina with all their stars. That period was like, ‘yes, it’s coming’.”
Yet despite those previously positive signs, the fabled prediction by Brazilian World Cup legend Pele that Africa would have a world champion by the turn of the century is now 18 years overdue.
Austin Ohaegbu with agency report