African teams have excellent talents that can win the FIFA World Cup but the continent's flag bearers at the biggest football spectacle require "strong mental strength" to prevail against the world's best, former Chelsea manager Avram Grant has said.
Stressing that Africa's five at Brazil 2014 are set to excel, Grant said "I certainly believe Africans teams will excel at this summer's World Cup in Brazil. I strongly believe that Ivory Coast, Ghana and Nigeria might even go further than the quarter final stage if their mental strength is excellent. It will be a good testimony for African football."
"One advantage that the African teams have in Brazil is that it is going to be warm. European teams have never won the World Cup in South America, so it will be a great opportunity for the African teams to do well because of the circumstances they have to play in," Grant said but cautioned that to excel, Africa's representatives will need to have "technical expertise to inculcate the strong mental strength in the players" for them to prevail against other competing nations.
Algeria, Cameroon, Cote d'Ivoire, Ghana and Nigeria carry the hopes of a continent pregnant with huge expectations that at the barest minimum, one team would go all the way to the final and attempt to win Africa's first World Cup.
"An African team will be champions of the world one day. I even don't understand why Africa can't win the World Cup because when compared to other countries, Africa has got excellent talents," Grant said adding that "the only problem I have seen with African teams is the fact that they lose games they can win in crucial moments. However, this can be improved because the problem is lack of a strong mental strength but it can be fixed."
"When Italy won the World Cup in 2006, they had no good talented players more than Africa with all due respect. At that time, Italy was not better than the leading countries in Africa but they have something that is lacking here in Africa and its more to do with the mental strength and this can be taught by employing the best people to teach it."
Grant, who said he was particularly following the Nigerian Super Eagles since their Nations Cup triumph in South Africa and reckons they will be Africa's top side because of their "brilliance", advised the coaches of African teams to emphasize on the mental strength of the players and to get results in crucial moments and matches.