FLYING HIGH: Ghana's John Pantsil

Jay-Jay Okocha blames the fall of African teams on lack of planning
For the second World Cup in succession Ghana qualified for second round of matches and will be Africa’s only representatives in the next stage.
With hosts South Africa, Nigeria, Algeria, Cameroon and Ivory Coast falling by the wayside, Ghana remained to fly the flag for the continent. They qualified for the last 16 despite a 1-0 defeat to group winners Germany, thanks to Australia’s victory over Serbia in the other match in group D on Wednesday evening.
Despite Bafana Bafana’s gallant attempt to qualify with a first ever victory over France, they became the first host nation to crash out at the first round. Nigeria followed when they could only draw with South Korea, and Algeria’s last gasp loss to USA saw them eliminated. With Cameroon already out and Ivory Coast with little chance of overhauling Brazil and Portugal, it has been a disappointing cup for Africa.
Ghana’s lone success has deflated the optimism that African teams would come into their own in what has been dubbed ‘Africa’s Cup.’
Commenting on the situation, SABC commentator and former Nigeria star Jay-Jay Okocha believes African football needs to “go back to the drawing board’ if it is to succeed in future World Cups.
The 36-year-old told BBC World Service that African nations were not going “that extra mile to get results”.
Okocha blamed a lack of investment in local coaches and youth players, adding that the continent’s big stars had not delivered on the world’s biggest stage.
“It’s about character. Our players have not shown enough passion,” he said.
“It’s an African tournament – we thought we could capitalise on that. That hasn’t been the story.
“In Africa I don’t think we plan enough. We always wait for an event and then get ourselves ready for just that event.”
He believes that if African football is to move on, coaches as well as players should look to foreign leagues to gain expertise and professionalism.
“I thought that the officials should be given the opportunity as well to go abroad and update themselves – but we haven’t done that. We’ve not invested in our local coaches,” Okocha commented.
“After going to Europe to prove yourself as a player you come back to that old mentality – that old way of playing.
“Then sometimes players get caught in the middle. They try to bring you down to their own level – and if you don’t want to come down to that level, it’s as if you’re losing your culture, losing your respect.”
Okocha, who retired from football in 2008, had scathing words for some of Africa’s better known players, criticising their performances when compared to those for their clubs.
“I don’t have to cover up for those players because they haven’t really performed. They’ve underachieved,” he stated.
“It’s all about character. I don’t think our players have shown enough passion for the game. That’s the difference between the way they’ve played here, and the way they play in their various clubs.”


  1. no matter hw hrd we try we will nver evr match european teams style of play,wil alwys remain underdogs,afrcn teams went ther to participate nt to compit,

  2. African teams are poorly resourced, poorly managed and stand no chance against teams with resources, organisation and good management! This Ghana team holds the dreams of Africa but you can see how poorly managed they are even though they have the potential and desire! It is such a shame really, more so that Essien is not there to drive them on the pitch! Good luck to them though! Africa is proud of you Ghana!

  3. africa has got all that can be found in europe or america. the problem is that we sa africans see those people as our gods. that we can’t compete against them. on the other hand they take advantage of that and boast their confidence.until botswana enters the world cup no african team will ever suceed……..

  4. kevin-prince boateng…im soo impresed this boy is great…congrats to ghana…with the same attitude u will go places…dont adopt the nigeria,cotedvore,cameroon atitude ya cheri mpona thola ba kotame ha di 18 ba sa ragele golie…

  5. Hope Ghana do well in the last 8…
    our international based players r not committed, they r only thr for moni….Check out countries like Brazil thr playrs r very committed,football is more thn a hobby to them,thy play wit passion mare rona madi a ko pele….gape grass root tota le yone ea tlaela….With tym maybe we will realize our mistakes thus wil grasp sumthng frm thm,anyway lets look into the future,hopefully in 2014 will do better….