Afcon – a West African Affair

| November 24, 2014 | 0 Comments

With qualification for the next edition of the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) finals settled, a familiar picture has emerged being the dominance of the African soccer scene by the West Africans.

For a long time West African Football Union (WAFU) teams have proved to be above par when compared to other regions such as Council of Southern African Football Associations (COSAFA), Council of East and Central African Football Associations (CECAFA), Central African Football Federations’ Union (UNIFFAC) and the Union of North African Football Federations (UNAF).

The 2015 Afcon finals to be hosted by Equatorial Guinea in January next year will not be any different.

When the final 16 teams descend on the coastal country next year, West Africa will enjoy the numerical aantage as it has claimed a lion’s share of representation, with almost half of the teams that will be taking part in the continental show piece, while other regions were left to share the remainder.

Senegal, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Mali, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde and Guinea will represent West Africa at the continental showpiece come January.

From the remaining nine slots, North Africa claimed two through Algeria and Tunisia while Congo Brazzaville, Gabon, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea and Cameroon represent the Central Africa.

From Southern Africa, only Zambia and South Africa have made it whereas East Africa has no representative.

As the most watched football spectacle on the continent, the consistent dominance by West Africa has the potential to increase their players’ marketability in the more competitive European leagues, and thereby enhancing the dominance of teams from this domain for many years to come.

On the other hand, CECAFA and COSAFA have seen a drop in their fortunes, as the former block had Ethiopia as its sole representative in the previous edition, while the latter has dropped from three to the current two representatives.

The Botswana Football Association (BFA) Technical Education Officer, Philemon Makhwengwe said West Arica has two distinct aantages. “The first aantage is that their generic environment coupled with their nutrition gives them a g frame and makes them steadier.

Sports science proves that the slower you are the more logical you think, so when they play the ball moves more than the players,” he said.

Makhwengwe said the Southern African generic environment however, is such that its people are smaller, which makes them faster.

“This means that we are faster on the ball and we mostly move without thinking,” said the much travelled football expert.

The second aantage, Makhwengwe said is that the West Africans do not compromise on youth development.

“They are more aanced when it comes to development at both club and national team levels while in Southern Africa, we only rely on raw talent and the current player’s performance,” he said.

He said the now ceased schools of excellence was a good development as it produced among others Kabelo Dambe, Mogakolodi Ngele and Tebogo Sembowa, and that unless development in the region is taken seriously, the region will continue to trail behind in football success.

In an interview with the international media, former Zebras coach, Stanley Tshosane also said that the problem is because the regional football associations are not doing enough with the development structures.

“If you want to have a good senior national team, you must start from the youth. But in our countries, most premier league teams do not even have developmental teams,” Tshosane noted.

The West Africans on the other hand have been known to have excellent football academies, churning talent to the European leagues at a tender age.

It is common for West African teams to use entirely European based players while in Southern Africa, most players used in national teams play in the less competitive local leagues.

Source : BOPA

Source : Botswana Daily News

Category: General

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