Cosafa teams continue missing World Cup train

 

In this month in 2010, the Vuvuzelas bellowed around the globe from South Africa as the Rainbow Nation become the first African country to host the world’s most prestigious soccer fiesta.

But eight years down the line, the sounds of the unique instrument have faded as the region’s soccer lovers continue to have no representation in the global showpiece, whose 2018 edition kicks off today as hosts Russia takes on Saudi Arabia in group-A match.

The Vuvuzelas have been gathering dust as Cosafa teams continue to miss the World Cup train for the second successive edition.

Cosafa teams have been struggling

They were not there in Brazil 2014 and they have once again chosen to be mere spectators in the latest episode that will see North African outfits Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia alongside West African sides Nigeria and Senegal carrying the continent’s flag.

South Africa made it into the 2010 edition by virtue of being hosts.

The last time a team from the Cosafa region made the grade through qualification was in 2006 through Angola, who were making their debut.

The two are also the only ones in the 14-team Cosafa block to have ever earned slots at the World Cup finals with South Africa having the most appearances (three).

Other Cosafa members Malawi, Botswana, Comoros, Lesotho, Madagascar, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe are among the 41 African nations that have not tasted how it feels to be at the global stage.

Soccer analyst Felix Ngamanya Sapao said the region’s failure to export players to European leagues, where the sport is very competitive, has for the past years denied it a chance of making a big impact on the global stage.

“It is a matter of having players in the European leagues. The mentality of Europe-based players and the quality of football are of high standard. If you have noted, almost all the current African representatives have players that ply their trade in Europe,” he said.

At present, Zambia, the former African champions, is on top of the list on the number of qualifying attempts for the World Cup with 13.

They are followed by West African nation of Guinea and East African country Kenya, (12 each).

Malawi has 10 attempts alongside Zimbabwe, Uganda, Sierra Leone and Burkina Faso while South Sudan has the least attempts (one).

The West African countries are the continent’s most successful at the event with three teams Cameroon, Senegal and Ghana having reached the quarterfinal stage in 1990, 2002 and 2010.

Cameroon is the African team with the most appearances at the World Cup finals with seven .

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