WORLD CUP: Beyond "Pace and Power," African players need more skill set





This is the first time since 1982 that an African nation has failed to reach the knock-out stages of a world cup. 

There was a time, in between the 36 years, that Africa looked like the continent poised to break the European and South American's hold on the World showpiece, but now, that looks like a distant prediction, or a half-baked idea that shouldn't have been uttered. 

In the 36 years, only three African countries have reached the quarter-finals of the World cup, with Ghana being the latest in 2010. For most parts, African teams have looked pedestrian, or like a team of tourists, who are there just to make up the numbers, without leaving any lasting impact.  

In 1994, Nigeria was regarded as the most exciting team at the World Cup in the United States, and rightly so too. Their directness, pace, power and trickery were just too much for most teams to handle, and it was part of where the now cliche "pace and power" phrase originated. 

It was the same with Cameroon at Italian 90, where the quickness of feet of Roger-Milla and co. was a big part of the reason Africa produced its first team to get to the quarter-finals in a world cup. 

So what went wrong? 

Nothing did. Or better put, we have done nothing. 

When an African country plays, we still have the same notion of football - the same directness, and our fancy to power-play our way to the opposition goal, or just depend on the ingenuity of a star to conjure up something hasn't changed.

Yeah, I know it sounds simplistic, and I have always been one to sound that out when i hear the Cliche being used for every black footballer. 

Yet, the world cup have proven it to be true. For most, the Africans looks ill-prepared and technically and tactically deficient. Physical strength for most part is no longer an advantage, especially as new dietary plans and advancement in conditioning have made sure others can now keep up with us physically

But we still can't keep up technically, and our game management remains relatively poor.