It’s time Africa shook off mediocrity tag

By Brighton Mupangavanhu


I WOULD like to thank Darlington Majonga for his article “Africa must not revel in underachievement”, (Zimbabwe Independent, June 23) in which he touched on the chronic problem of celebrating coming second-best in football by many Afri

can nations.

I agree with him. It’s a problem which I also picked up at the African Nations Cup in Egypt in January this year.
I was very disappointed at the way the Angolan coach celebrated holding Mexico to a draw at the World Cup in Germany.

Everyone knew that any team that was daring could easily beat Mexico. South Africa proved it with a third-string side that “shocked” the world when they beat Mexico 2-0 at the South American nations competition, the Concacaf Cup.

It is now common knowledge that Mexico is a soccer powerhouse on the decline. Angola should have gathered courage and could have beaten the South Americans

But the Angolan coach was making noise about how they had done the nation proud by holding a spent force called Mexico.

It’s an African problem to revel in mediocrity.

Have you forgotten that we (Zimbabwe) were so excited that we came close to qualifying for the quarterfinals at the Nations Cup this year, when we should have been sorry at having lost the two opening matches to Senegal and Nigeria?

And we even had the audacity to write in our sports columns that “we lost by respectable margins” of 2-0. We actually threw a game away to Senegal which should not have won anything at the Nations Cup. But there we were, celebrating losing by 0-2.

We should have beaten Ghana 5-0 in that match, but alas, we were happy with the “we almost did it” syndrome.

It is time that Africa gained the kind of self-belief that helps us to know that we have the potential to compete with the perceived and real powerhouses.

Ghana have proved that by playing a more purposeful kind of soccer at the World Cup. 

* Brighton Mupangavanhu writes from South Africa.

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