GOTP Notepad: Across the confederations – Champions Leagues

IT IS easy to forget that Europe does not have a monopoly on Champions league competitions. Here’s the latest situation in the other confederations. Libertadores Cup The last 16 starts on August 8 and finishes towards the end of that month. There are six teams from Argentina, six from Brazil, two from Paraguay and one apiece from Chile and Colombia. Holders Grêmio of Brazil are … Continue reading GOTP Notepad: Across the confederations – Champions Leagues

Guest Slot: Why African football has flopped at the 2018 World Cup

IN 1977, Pelé predicted an African team would win the World Cup before the end of the 20th century. It was and remains a bold prediction: it wasn’t even until the following year that an African country, Tunisia, actually won a match at the tournament. Over the following decade, African football experienced a steady progression, culminating in Cameroon’s near-miss in 1990, when they came within … Continue reading Guest Slot: Why African football has flopped at the 2018 World Cup

The Matabeleland challenge

MOST people don’t know where Matabeleland is – it’s a name they may have heard over the years, but unless you have a decent knowledge of Africa, and in particular, Zimbabwe, you’re likely to struggle in putting a pin on the map. But Matabeleland’s football team is travelling to London at the end of May for the CONIFA World Cup, that’s an acronym for The … Continue reading The Matabeleland challenge

GOTP Notepad: Morocco and Nigeria to meet in African final

IT MAY be Africa’s second most important competition for national teams, but the African Nations Championship appears to have been quite low-key. The final takes place this weekend (February 4), with hosts Morocco facing Nigeria in Casablanca. Neither country has won it before, so there will be a new winner of a tournament that is only open to players plying their trade in domestic football. … Continue reading GOTP Notepad: Morocco and Nigeria to meet in African final

Pelé +17 – and no sign of an African champion

BACK in 1974, Pelé predicted an African world champion by the year 2000. That was a bold forecast but hopes of a FIFA World Cup winner from the continent seem as unlikely as ever. Football Benchmark’s latest paper, Can the African Lions meet expectations?, looks at the underperformance of Africa’s leading nations and points to some big picture reasons why the continent is still not … Continue reading Pelé +17 – and no sign of an African champion

Sunny days for Sundowns

SOUTH AFRICA has never punched its weight in the CAF Champions League, but just a couple of weeks ago, Mamelodi Sundowns became only the second team from “the rainbow nation” to lift the continent’s major club trophy. The last South African team to win the competition was Orlando Pirates in 1995. The Sundowns reached the final in 2001, but they were beaten by Egypt’s Al … Continue reading Sunny days for Sundowns

Kick-off in Africa – watch out for Senegal and Algeria

It seems like only yesterday that the last African Cup of Nations last took place, but it’s back and the big challenge will be to get people to take notice, although with so many players missing now from English, Spanish and French football, fans cannot help notice that something else is going on in the world. The last series, in 2013, was an uninspiring competition, … Continue reading Kick-off in Africa – watch out for Senegal and Algeria

Algerian football is on the up – at least that’s what ES Setif hope

Cynics might suggest that the FIFA Club World Cup just pays lip-service to the global game and that it’s all about ensuring the winners of the  Copa Libertadores and UEFA Champions League winners meet in the final after some meaningless eliminators. The romantic will try to insist that the competition is open to all, although it’s highly unlikely that a team from Asia, Central America … Continue reading Algerian football is on the up – at least that’s what ES Setif hope

Shouldn’t Africa be doing better by now?

Poor old Pele is forever being reminded of his prediction in 1974 that by 2000, an African team would have won the World Cup. They were bold words, perhaps strategic words given his then pal Joao Havelange was canvassing for FIFA dominance on the back of “votes for Africa”. In 1974, Zaire showed how much needed to be done to make that happen, and 40 … Continue reading Shouldn’t Africa be doing better by now?

Emenike can lead Nigeria to victory in Jo’burg

The African Cup of Nations reaches a climax this weekend with the final on Sunday between Burkina Faso and Nigeria. The competition has a habit of producing shocks, and this year’s favourities, Ivory Coast and Ghana, fell at the quarter-finals and semi-finals respectively. Not many people expected either side to reach the final, especially the Burkinabe’s.To be frank, I had never heard of Burkina Faso … Continue reading Emenike can lead Nigeria to victory in Jo’burg

African Cup of Nations: It has to improve!

Huge swathes of empty seats, dull football and muted crowds – that’s my first impressions of the African Cup of Nations 2013. Four games played, three draws and thank God for Mali, scoring near the end of their games with Niger to finally produce a winning team. It started with South Africa drawing 0-0 with Cape Verde, a bunch of toothless blue sharks (their nickname) … Continue reading African Cup of Nations: It has to improve!

Last chance for Ivory Coast’s “Golden Generation”

For the fifth consecutive African Cup of Nations (ACN), Ivory Coast have been tagged as favourites. It is a mantle they have not worn that well, for since 2006, they have failed to live up to expectations, despite going close on two occasions. Despite having arguably the best team outside of Europe and Latin America – they are currently ranked 14th in FIFA’s list – … Continue reading Last chance for Ivory Coast’s “Golden Generation”