Tomorrow, the world will vibrate to the rhythm of samba, carnivals, and Copacabana… Yes tomorrow, the 2014 FIFA World Cup will start in Brazil, and 32 of the best soccer nations will compete at this great planetary event. This will one month of soccer, pure joy, fun, and above all talent; Talent expressed by players from around the globe. Legends will be made, new faces discovered, and dreams will take off.
Five African teams will grace the tournament: Algeria, Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, and Nigeria.
We do hope that at least one African team will advance into the round of 16, and beyond. Here are some of the African stars to watch out for.
The Desert Foxes of Algeria are a good team to contend with, in another relatively easy group with Russia, South Korea, and Belgium. This should hopefully be an easy one. Maradona predicts Algeria “will cause a surprise”, while Rivaldo says “the possibilities of reaching the second round are abundant”.
Samuel Eto’o Fils, captain of Cameroon’s Indomitaple Lions, is incontestably one of the best forwards on the planet, and one of the greatest strikers of his generation. This might be his last world cup, and Cameroon’s first in 8 years. The Pichichi, and winner of several honors including African Ballon d’Or, will have to be ready to affront Brazil, the host country, Mexico, and Croatia in group A.
Didier Drogba, captain of Cote d’Ivoire’s Elephants, like Eto’o is also one of the best on the planet. After playing for Chelsea and winning countless trophies, he is now in Turkey with Galatasaray FC. This will probably be his last world cup. We wish him, and the Ivorian team the very best. They qualified with gusto to this competition. They have a relatively easy group with Colombia, Japan, and Greece. I will put my money on them moving to the next round in the tournament.
Relying on their strength at the back, with captain and goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama, Nigeria will have to face Argentina, Bosnia & Herzegovina, and Iran. The Super Eagles have undergone a radical transformation under Stephen Keshi, which has made them win last year African Cup of Nations‘ tournament. With good discipline, they should be able to advance in the competition as well.
The Black Stars of Ghana were fancied to repeat, or even improve on, their run to the quarter-finals in 2010 in South Africa. That was until the draw was made and they were pitted with the world’s second and third-ranked sides. Asamoah Gyan and his teammates will play against Germany, Portugal, and the United States. This is the “group of death”. Ghana is a very good team; if they manage to make it to the round of 16, then they will quite far at the World Cup. We wish them the very best in the competition.
Throughout the years, I have placed high hopes on African teams and have always been disappointed. I might once again be disappointed. However, this is planetary tournament, and the fun of it makes one root for any good team. For the world cup winner, I believe Brazil, the host country has home court advantage, as well as a pool of great talents. Let us hope that will be enough to make them winners. I also think Argentina of Lionel Messi will be a really great contender, as well as Spain, the last world cup winners. Overall, let the world cup start, with all the fun, and may the best team win!!!