Vanguard (Lagos)

14 June 2006

Tunisia: Can Tunisia Salvage Africa's Pride Today?

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Angola lost 1-0 to Portugal, Cote d'Ivoire fought hard but still went down 2-1 to Argentina and Ghana showed the world how to play the opposite of modern football. And they paid for it, losing 2-0 to an Italian side that had some great shots at goal but looked troubled by their game.

They were not first class but Ghana helped them tremendously. Modern football is about going forward, attacking in such a way that you put pressure on opponents.

It is such that players try the option of going forward first and can only go back if it is very tight. You go back to keep possession. But it appeared that Ghana were going back as a style of play and not when forced to do so. And so they spent so much energy running around but kept passing the ball back and allowing Italian defence reorganize. That was negative football even if they appeared good to some eyes. They did nothing in the opponents ´goal area and got no goals. And so the story has not been good for Africa here even as Joseph Blatter applauded Ghana´s flashes. He is a supporter of African football.

Togo also lost 2-1 yesterday to South Korea after leading 1-0. But they created news here negatively before facing Korea last night. First was the story of their players demanding millions as if they are going to the moon. The next was their coach falling out with them and quitting the team before returning Monday evening. He did not supervise their last training.

When Togo came for their last training before the match against Korea, Pfister was not there. Questions that were posed to the Togolese players centred mainly on the coach. "Do you people have a coach now?". That's not a question that should be asked a team in the World Cup. So far, no African country has made any good statement here and we are still waiting for the good things to happen. Maybe Tunisia can bring something to cheer when they play Saudi Arabia in Munich. We are hopeful and also hoping that Cote d'ivoire can still do something.

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