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2014 World Cup Feature: Give Africa more World Cup slots

Published on: 02 July 2014
FIFA World Cup.

Every time the Soccer World Cup comes around, Africa tries to push for more spots in the global spectacle.

The argument is always that with 52 member-countries, which is close to the 54 that Europe has, Africa should have more than the five slots that they currently have at the World Cup.

As things stand, Europe enjoys 13 spots at the World Cup to Africa’s five. The other spots are divided among Asia who have 4.5, South America 4.5, Concacaf 3.5 and Oceania who have half a place while the hosts qualify automatically.

Those who are against Africa getting more slots at the World Cup, always point to the fact that no country from the continent has reached the semi-final stage.

Despite the world’s greatest player, Pele of Brazil, saying as early as the 1980s that an African country will win the World Cup before the turn of the century, the best Africa has done is reach the quarter-finals.

Cameroon broke the duck in 1990 by reaching the quarter-final stage at Italia ‘90. It raised hopes that at least an African country would do better at the following versions. However, it remained a pipe dream with Senegal bowing out at the same stage in 2002 and Ghana doing the same in the last version played here in South Africa four years ago.

Many will point an accusing finger at “Bad Boy” Luis Suarez who stopped a goal-bound shot in injury time to prevent a goal that would have taken Ghana to the semi-finals in 2010.

It is now history that Uruguay went on to win the match in the dreaded penalty shoot-out and with that victory, Africa’s dreams of a semi-final spot, went up in smoke.

So the waiting continues.

And as the build-up to the current World Cup continued, so did the anticipation of how many African countries would go through the first round.

And as fate would have it, only two countries - the No 1-ranked Algeria and Nigeria. Ivory Coast, Ghana and Cameroon disappointed by bowing out of the tournament in the first round.

Needless to say, ill-discipline and off-field shenanigans seem to have contributed more to the demise of these countries than the quality of football on the field.

The Ghanaian government even had to send a plane carrying $3m to Brazil to appease the players and persuade them to continue playing. Cameroonian players threatened a strike and even had team-mates exchanging blows at some stage.

Even Nigerian players went on strike and didn’t attend their first scheduled training session ahead of their last 16 match against France.

But these aside, does Africa deserve more places?

Well the principles of democracy that determines that the majority rule, demands that Africa should have more spots in the World Cup.

As things stand, Europe has a much better chance of having more countries in all the rounds of the World Cup because of their vast representation.

They had five countries going through to the Last 16 round out of their 13 representatives and who knows how many African countries would have made it had there been more than five.

Look at South, Central and North America. They contributed a total of nine countries for the second round, the same number they had in South Africa four years ago.

So if the principles of democracy are properly applied, Africa does deserve more places at the World Cup just as they also deserve more places in the Fifa executive where the continent currently only has four representatives out of the 24.

S’Busiso Mseleku is regarded as one of Africa's leading sports journalists and an authority on football. He has received some of the biggest awards in a career spanning well over 20 years. He is currently City Press Sports Editor.


This article has 6 comment(s), give your comment
  • Naasaah Emmanuel says:
    July 02, 2014 04:38 pm
    Germany and Brazil for finals
  • Kofi says:
    July 02, 2014 04:52 pm
    Not necessary. It will only allow more greedy officials opportunity to disgrace the continent. The five that go to the World Cup are the best we have, not just any five. The the best from Africa cant progress past the group stages then what is the point in adding even more weaker teams? Lets keep the five until we learn to be better than we can talk about an increase.
  • Naasaah Emmanuel says:
    July 02, 2014 04:34 pm
    African players are only to make money but not to play for the continent. God have mercy on Africa
  • spellBOUND says:
    July 02, 2014 10:30 am
    tweeeeaaa, so we can send more teams to embarrass africa?? no thanks. the chaos in the african camps showed the world that they are not serious about the game, but about lining their pockets.. before the mundial, i was in support of expansion, but not so sure now.
  • benny says:
    July 02, 2014 10:48 am
    They should rather reduce the spot until the African FA's shoest transparency in their dealings.
  • Pius says:
    July 02, 2014 11:54 am
    In 2010 Africa hosted and had 6 reps,only one qualified 4 the knock out stage,2014 South America is hosting...had 6 reps and 5 qualified for the knock out,now do the maths and come again