Technical and tactical ineptitude coupled with lack of game management skills has been sited as the major cause of African teams below par performance at the FIFA world cup 2018.
In a technical report by FIFA analysed by the Zambian Business Times – ZBT, the FIFA technical report stated that it was evident that African teams conceded goals either too early or very late.
This speaks of inadequate game management skills on the side of the coaching and technical support teams.It was also clear that most of the African players failed to raise their game to match the level expected at world cup.
But most conclusively is the fact that the teams were outmatched technically and tactically. The teams never managed to score enough goals, while the defences conceded at crucial moments.
It did not help that midfield play was also devoid of creative play. Once more the continent has to wait for another Quatar 2022 shot.
Preparations especially at identifying and putting in place technical team that covers all areas from sports medics etc had better start in earnest if any breakthroughs are going to happen.
One thing is clear, successful club careers for African players in Europe do not necessarily translate into success for their home teams at World Cup level.
Recap of the 2018 FIFA world cup 2018 and a summary of Africans teams performance
The World Cup 2018 was one of the most memorable tournaments in living memory, and with only one goalless draw out of 54 games, it’s easy to see why.
Video Assistant Referee (VAR) had a very positive impact on the competition, although it wasn’t without its talking points. The final 4 teams made the World Cup look more like the European Championship, as only France, Belgium, Croatia and England remained.
While there were some impressive performances, no African side made it through the group stages. Lets take a look on how they fared according to the technical report by football experts:
Egypt had to wait 28 years to reach their third World Cup, and they pinned a lot of hope on their star man, Mohammed (Mo) Salah. Unfortunately, Salah’s injury in the Champions League final just weeks prior to the start of the world cup meant that he wasn’t fit enough for the first match against Uruguay, and Egypt ended up losing the game in stoppage time.
Salah returned for the next 2 matches, but he was clearly not fully match fit, despite scoring a goal in each game. Many Egyptians were expecting a consolation victory against Saudi Arabia in their final game, but Egypt also lost this in the dying stages to round off a bitterly disappointing campaign.
Nigeria’s first game against Croatia ended in a 2-0 defeat, but they were able to give themselves a fighting chance after beating Iceland.
in the second match. Nigeria’s midfield pairing of John Obi Mikel and Leicester’s Wilfred Ndidi helped as they controlled the game, and the coach’s decision to replace Ighalo with Ahmed Musa paid dividends as he scored both goals for the west African nation to record a victory.
The decisive match against Argentina was a very close affair, but Marcos Rojo’s goal in the final 5 minutes ensured that Argentina would finish second, ahead of Nigeria.
Senegal were perhaps the most promising African side in the competition, and only missed out on qualification because of new FIFA fair play rules. To put it bluntly, Senegal missed out on the knockout stages because of a yellow card that they received in injury time from the previous match!
The West African nation put up a very impressive display against Poland, and were involved in an entertaining draw with Japan, but defeat to Colombia meant that it was Japan who would steal second qualification spot.
Tunisia managed to beat Panama. But they were simply not good enough to progress from a difficult group featuring both Belgium and England.
Captain Wahbi Khazri admitted that his side found the level against both top-draw European opponents to be too high, too elevated.
Like Egypt, Morocco and Nigeria, the Carthage Eagles lost their game to England in stoppage time. Next, Tunisia were mercilessly hammered by a hungry Belgium 5-2.
The only consolation is that Tunisia left the competition as Africa’s top scorers with five goals from three games and a sense of satisfaction after beating Panama.
Despite finishing bottom of Group B with only 1 point, Morocco can hold their heads up high as their performances definitely deserved more than their results.
Having said that, the North Africans were guilty of missing glorious chances in all 3 matches, and were punished by Iran in the final minute of their encounter.
They had the lion’s share of possession and chances against Portugal, but lost out to a single Ronaldo header, while they were leading Spain for most of the match until VAR reallowed Iago Aspas’ clever flicked goal.
The above summary shows that indeed, tactics, technical and game management skills are what associations should be focussing on, getting the right player support systems as Africa seems to have talented players but the football management aspect, better organized leagues and local league match attendance numbers need to be transformed.