The thundering header come from a player,six feet four inches tall,and with thud the last remaining African team,Senegal was bundled out of world cup.
Someone pinches me,no he says,Senegal was done by fair play.He insist, were it not Japan had less yellow cards than Senegal,they Senegal would have pulled through. True.The rest of the African teams,Nigeria, Tunisia, Egypt, and Morocco had been sent packing early in first round.With the Colombian win, many in Africa were left high and dry.
High because they had pinned their hope on the only surviving team-Senegal,dry because the team was knocked out by an African no less.The giant of a man though Colombian by Nationality was an African by extraction.
World cup leave behind shattered hearts, ask Germany. The reigning world champion was thrown out of this year championship having tailed in their group.The broken hearts of Germans are yet to mend.For Africa they have no home dog in the fight.Many in Africa have to adopt a new team. Loyalties have to shift.
The basket of choice is wide and expansive.A friend has alerted me that he will go with the remaining African team,which one I hear you ask:France.The team at the heart has Pogba,Mbappe, and Kante,black to the core,many African identify with them.
Now who shall go ahead and take the trophy? For me world cup has yet to start,I always look forward to the elimination phase,where once you lose,you are sent packing. This is the phase the teams come alive.
Group stage is all about permutations. Win just enough to let you sail through to last sixteen.It seems our African team cannot do their maths well.They are knocked out at last match of group phase with a solitary goal.It seems that the rest of the teams have figured out how to beat African teams.
Allow them possession, let them labour all over the field, as you contain their aggression. Sit back and wait the last closing minutes, then strike with a stealth and lethal force.Was that not how Nigeria was beaten by Argentina? Was it not the same formula which was applied by Colombian to kick out Senegal a day later?
Though a defeat have a bitter taste many lessons are learnt in Football. For many, football is a bloody sport where winning whether ugly or with guile doesn’t stir their conscience.For others they swear by its musicality. The flow of the ball as Messi ran forward like a raging bull,with his nimble touches,sleazy footwork,and damn the goal which leave the goal keeper floored at opposite corner from which the ball beats the net.
To others football is a ballerina,played with swift,flowing, rhythmical movement. To other lot it all about formation. Not the usual 4-2-3-1 formation but the mathematical pattern the ball makes as it cross the field.Another lot watch the football not more so because of the scoreline but for the grace and the presence their football heroes portray in their attack and defence mission.
Looking at the remaining 16 teams ,African has a reason to smile, for if players who have African extraction were to be picked, two or more teams would form.Brazil to France, Belgium to England, many of the star players have their root in Africa.
Talk about Lukaku,the Belgium hitman,or Michy Batshuanyi,their other top rated plays, their roots are in Africa. Nigeria, Tunisia, Morocco,Egypt and Senegal have packed on their way home but Africa is well represented in the remaining 16 teams.
Winning the world cup is not only about tactics and strategies but also grit.O have you heard those lazy commentators,yap about the physicality of African teams?The insinuation here is that African teams are more about matter than mind.An impression that brute force and wild energy is all what African teams deploy in the games
They forget that many of South American teams are fueled by players of African extraction.When Brazil which have Willian and Neymar in it ranks score and match onwards the talk ceases.
Who then shall win the cup?Obviously it is difficult to predict the future.Raise up your hand if you feel Japan can win the world cup?Can Colombia,Sweden Switzerland,and Russia lift the trophy? Huge odds.
Chances are, these teams will taste defeat on their road to the final, unless a team pull some magical moves.Now throw an eye to the aristocrats of football Brazil, Argentina, and France,leave England out of it for their saunter under past glory.
Just as they love regaling themselves on their past glory of the empire which the sun never used to set,so too is in football where they bask under a long time -1966-win.
England has young stalwarts but they are yet to tested.Beating Panama-6-0,is not a good measure of how good they are.For Panama was a one jab fighter, easily sent sprawling by an aggressive opponent.It tells a lot that England was floored by Belgium yesterday.
Portugal is the European champion no doubt,a team with a star player,Ronaldo.They meet Uruguay today,led by that rock of a defender,Godin.Will Uruguay,Suarez outshine Ronaldo,therefore upstaging Portugal?Chances are high.But Portugal have the grit to win the game.
The odds looks so cold for Argentina. They have survived by the skin of their teeth.Nigeria was almost knocking them out of the competition. Their game have not been impressive.
In round of 16 their mettle will be tested to the full stretch.Elastic limit. They have to improve tremendously to crash past quarter final.A good lot have given Brazil the top dog status, a team combined to win the cup,but let me admit,I have found their game wanting, they have to expose their full fangs.If Brazil happen to meet Belgium I have feeling they will sweat for a win.