By Akpera Nase
Egypt is arguably the first African country to hoist his flag at the FIFA World Cup, the Pharoahs competed at the second FIFA world cup edition hosted by Italy in 1938.
As Africa sole representative, the team recorded a disgraceful performances, the Egyptian team crumbled 2-4 lost to Hungary in the only game they played.
It took CAF several years to re-appear at the FIFA world cup till Morocco make their debut at Mexico ,70 edition, but could not made appreciable impact, the team lost two group matches and managed a 1-1 draw with Bulgaria.
Again at the West Germany ,74 FIFA world cup, Zaire now Congo DR , recorded the worst performances by an African country in the history of the Mundial, the team conceded 14 goals without a single reply.
At the Argentina ,78 FIFA world cup, Tunisia at their debut thrashed Mexico 3-1in their first group game, though lost the remaining two group matches and could not advanced to the second round, But the then FIFA president Joao Havelange saw the amazing prospect of Africa’s performances and increased their slots to two at the ESPANA ,82 and Mexico ,86 World Cup respectively.
Cameroon remains the first African country who made their debut at the world cup without losing any group matches.
The high roaring Indomitable Lions of Cameroon went to the ESPANA 82 as underdogs, but recorded remarkable performances at the tournament, inspired by captain Theophilus Abega, Emmanuel Kunde, Roger Milla, goalkeeper Thomas Nkono, Jean Omanga Ougene and Stephen Ette Tataw, Cameroon held both Peru and Poland to a goalless draw, played out a 1-1 draw with Italy, the tournament eventual winners.
The World Cup at Mexico, 86 finals saw Algeria and Morocco as another set of CAF flag bearers, but their performances could not yield fruitful dividends for Africa and their countries.
Italia,90 FIFA world cup Cameroon, Egypt were the African soccer ambassadors, Cameroon squad caused up- sets, an instance when lowly rated team with little football tradition would take the front stage rather than the back stage, in the encounter with a renown soccer tradition like Argentina, Cameroons striker, Oman Biyik 65 minutes header sent jitters in the spines of defending champions Argentina with Armando Diego Maradona was unable to rescued his side.
USA, 94 World Cup witnessed another memorable outings for the African soccer warlords, The Super Eagles of Nigeria in their debut wrote soccer history , Nigeria white washed Bulgaria 3-0, lost 1-2 to Argentina, beat Greece 2-0 to advanced to the knocked out, stages. Italy stopped Nigeria by 1-2 lost, but the team’s exploits was rated second best entertaining team at the tournament.
France, 98 world cup opened the floodgates of African representatives to five slots till date.
Senegal’s Terenga Lions entered the FIFA Guinness book of records, at the Korea/Japan world cup, Senegal as the new entrants, stunned France defending Champions by a lone goal to steal the show, Boupa Dioup,s 30 minutes low drive separated the face off, the outcome of the result further brings to the fore the dexterity of Africa’s performances at the global soccer fiesta.
The first ever FIFA world cup to be staged on the African soil was hosted by South Africa in 2010, again the great potentials came to the limelight’s, The twinkling Black Stars of Ghana led by Stephen Appiah, Asamoah Gyang, Jordan Ayew, prince Boateng and other legions of Ghanaian soccer warlords were in their true elements, the team went all the way to the quarter finals.
Though the World Cup remain elusive for Africa, but sooner or later the trophy would be won by an African country, Nigeria and Ghana have conquered the World at the FIFA Cadets championship too numerous to our credit.