The best striker of the contemporary era from the Dark continent will no longer be seen in his national colors. Soumyadip Daspays a tribute to him through Goalden Times.
At the end of every World Cup many greats of the game retire from international football. This year too, the trend has continued. Tébily Didier Yves Drogba is one of the players to hang up his boots after Brazil 2014. We won’t be seeing him take the field again wearing the Cote D’Ivoire shirt. Cote D’IvoireWhile he is more famous for his heroics with Chelsea FC, where he spent most of his football career and was voted by fans as their best ever player, he is also a legend in his own rights just as an Cote D’Ivoire player, and possibly their greatest. We look back at the man’s international career and his contributions to his country both on and off the field.
We start with mapping Drogba’s journey to global superstardom. Drogba was born in 1978 in Abidjan, the capital of Cote D’Ivoire. Like many African countries, Cote D’Ivoire was and still is a poor country. Drogba and his family were poor and had to work hard for everything. His mother nicknamed him as “Tito”, because his Mother used to admire the then Yugoslavia President Broz Tito. In the early days of childhood, he spent most of his time with his uncle Michel Goba, a professional footballer who was playing in France that time. Drogba started his schooling in France at the age of five and also used to play football there. When he was eight years old, he was sent back to home to his parents. However his parents were not well off financially having lost their jobs. As a result, they again sent him back to France under the wings of his uncle. From there on his journey as a footballer started. In the beginning, he used to play as a right back. But his uncle advised him to play upfront by saying-“What are you doing stuck back there? Get up front! In football, people only look at the strikers”. He followed his uncle’s instruction (in hindsight it was a sound advice) switched to playing as a Centre- Forward.
At the age of 15, he signed a contract with Levallois where he began his professional career. In 1998, after completing his schooling, he joined Le Mans, a club playing in the French 2nd division. He was 21 at that time. By this age players of Drogba’s ability are already picked up by bigger clubs, hence he’s called a “late bloomer”. In four years he moved to En Avant Guingamp where he scored 24 goals in one and half seasons. His impressive form attracted interest from top clubs and Olympique de Marseille signed him for the next season. There he scored loads of goals and went on to become the Ligue 1 Player of the year. His performances earned him a move to Chelsea FC in the next season for a transfer fee of £24 million. This is a record for any African player which stands till date. This move started his emergence as a global superstar, we all know of his exploits with Chelsea.
While he was playing for Le Mans, he made his International debut in 2002 against South Africa. He scored his first International goal in 2003 vs Cameroon. He became the Ivorian Captain in the Year 2006 and continued to be so till his recently announced retirement. He took “Les Elephants” to their first ever World Cup in 2006. He has played in three World Cups where he has scored twice (One against Argentina in 2006 and the other one against Brazil in 2010). He has also captained his country in four ‘African Cup of Nations’. In 2006, he scored the winner in their 1-0 win over Nigeria in the Semi-final of African Cup of Nations. He missed a penalty in the Shoot-out in the final against Egypt. He missed a penalty in 2012 African Cup of Nations Final too. In 2014, He made his 100th appearance against Bosnia and Herzegovina (friendly match) and scored a goal from penalty. His last tournament was the 2014 World Cup.
His International retirement will surely create a void in his National Team. He won 104 caps for his National Team and scored 65 goals, a record for Cote D’Ivoire. He won African Footballer of the Year twice (2006, 2009), Cote D’Ivoire Player of the year thrice (2006, 2007, 2012)..
Drogba made his mark for Ivory Coast not only as a player but as an individual as well. He played a vital role in bringing peace to his country. After the Cote D’Ivoire qualified for the 2006 World Cup, Drogba made a desperate appeal to the enemies, asking them to put down their arms, an appeal that was answered with an end of five years of civil war. On 24 January 2007, Drogba was selected by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) as a Goodwill Ambassador. In September 2011, Drogba joined the Truth, Reconciliation and Dialogue Commission as a delegate to assist return peace to his home nation. His involvement in the peace process led to him being named as one of the world’s 100 most influential people by Time magazine in 2010. Drogba’s charity work continued when, in late 2009, he decided that he would be donating the £3 million signing on fee for his endorsement contract with Pepsi for building a hospital in his hometown of Abidjan. This work was done through Drogba’s “Didier Drogba Foundation” and Chelsea FC announced that they too would donate the fee for the Pepsi deal toward the Foundation’s project. Drogba decided to build the hospital after a trip to the Ivorian capital’s other hospitals, saying “… I decided the Foundation’s first project should be to build and fund a hospital giving people basic healthcare and a chance just to stay alive“.
Drogba also made an indirect contribution to Levallois SC, the amateur club where Drogba began his career. They used their percentage of his transfer fees £24 transfer fee from Chelsea, to ensure the club’s survival, and then to improve their stadium to incorporate modern sports facilities for the benefit of the local community. They renamed the new stadium Stade Didier Drogba in his honour. He has donated money for sick and poor African Children. He got appreciation for his noble endeavours from former England Captain and Chelsea team mate John Terry-“Didier is doing an amazing job. The way he is affected by the sick children, you can tell that he really cares and that he really wants to help. He loves his country and his country loves him”. Gervinho, his national team mate, mentioned that Drogba has been an example for many Ivorians. The Sun, an English Daily stated him as “a man who has taken on the responsibility of rebuilding his entire country“.
Drogba has seen the pain of poor, war-affected people of Cote D’Ivoire. Hence he is determined to do his all to bring to Ivorian children in all that he missed in his childhood in Cote D’Ivoire. He is a symbol of hope and peace in Cote D’Ivoire. He speaks for masses unlike many other influential persons who use their power for political interest. People admire him as their idol. They dress like him, they write songs about him, their life stop when he plays. He has made Cote D’Ivoire a better place to live for common people. His achievements as a player has been great, but what he has done for the poverty-stricken, war torn Cote D’Ivoire will never be forgotten. He is a great ambassador for his country who can justifiably be named as “The Charity King”. He said in an interview, “I have won many trophies in my time, but nothing will ever top helping win the battle for peace in my country. I am so proud because today in the Cote D’Ivoire we do not need a piece of silverware to celebrate“. We and his country will miss him in international football, but his impact off the field will continue to have a lasting effect on his country. We wish the best to Didier in his journey to make Cote D’Ivoire and the world a better place.
C is for Cut throat
Debopam Roy previews the teams from Group C.
Group C, along with Group A and group F, forms a set of unique groups in this year’s World Cup where the four countries in the respective groups represent four different continents. However of all the eight groups, this is the unique group as none of the countries have ever played any of the other countries in the 19 previous World Cups. That is not really surprising given that two of the teams made their World Cup debuts in 1990s and one in 2006. Add to the fact that cumulatively they have only ever gone to the round of 16 three times (only Japan repeating it) and this World Cup then becomes a huge opportunity for these countries to finally fulfil the expectation that many of them have always carried.
For some, Colombia would forever be associated as a country being called favourites by Pele and then crashing out of USA 94 in ignominy followed by the tragedy of Andres Escobar’s killing. That team was of Faustino Asprilla, Carlos Valderrama, Freddy Rincon, Rene Higuita – the golden generation if there was one. Despite qualifying for all three World Cups in 1990s, they only had the round of 16 clash in 1990 to talk about. That golden generation’s zenith was reached in its final days, when they won the Copa America in 2001.
Since 1998, Colombia had failed to reach the World Cups for three straight times. That wait is over now. And the talk is of a new golden generation. This generation is led by old guard of Mario Yepes but has prolific strikers (Radamel Falcao and Jackson Martinez), creative midfielders (James Rodriguez, Fredy Guarin), wide men capable of burning through the wings (Juan Guilermo Cuadrado, Pablo Armero), solid defenders (Cristian Zapata, Yepes himself and wonderkid Eder Alvarez Balanta who has made his debut aged only 21 and can be an able backup).
Colombia comfortably breezed through the South American campaign on the back of a solid defence that conceded the least while scoring the third highest number of goals and finished only two points off the topper Argentina. Radamel Falcao was ostensibly the focal point of the attack, top scoring with nine goals. Teofilo Gutierrez backed him up with six goals. They have since then strengthened their claims with friendly victories against Serbia and Belgium before drawing against fellow qualifiers Netherlands.
Jose Pekerman, who had won three Under-20 World Cups with Argentina and managed the senior team to the 2006 World Cup quarter-finals, playing sublime football at times, has revolutionised the Colombian team as well. After a bout of experimentation, he has settled on a 4-2-2-2 formation with two roving attacking midfielders behind the two strikers. That would change to a 4-2-3-1 formation effortlessly against teams where more prudent approach is required. His performances as the helm of the Colombian team have seen him win the South American Coach of the Year consecutive times in 2012 and 2013. His tenure is capped by performances like the thumping 4-0 victory over Uruguay in September 2012 or coming from three goals down to claim a 3-3 draw with Chile in the penultimate round of qualifying campaign.
Since the heydays of 2003, this is the first time that Colombia has been in the top 5 in the FIFA rankings. They have shuttled between fourth and fifth place in the FIFA ranking for past one year while managed to climb onto third place once, and much is expected again of them. But the history has been one of underachievement over the years. The lone time they managed to cross the group stages of World Cup, Roger Milla took Rene Higuita’s adventurous foray up the field to score the memorable goal that dumped Los Cafeteros (the coffee growers) out of Italia ’90. This time too the spending qualifying campaign and superlative continental form which allowed Colombia to be seeded has taken its toll in terms of the injury to Falcao who underwent knee surgery for ligament damage and it would be quite a miracle for him to come back in time for the World Cup in his full splendour. But with a group where they are top seeds and none of the other three teams have a World Cup record that is superior to them, this is the best chance Los Cafeteros have of putting on their best show. Their opponent in the next round will be a team from Group D – one of mighty Italy, Uruguay or England. So Colombia’s chances of bettering their best performance in the tournament remains slim.
Greece is one of the few European teams that have reached multiple World Cups but never progressed beyond the group stage. This inability shows that they are a team that can possibly punch above their cumulative weight over a long period of time but cannot take the heat of the big stage. Their lone European triumph in 2004 is the shining exception to this history. That win was the pinnacle of the German manager Otto Rehhagel. Rehhagel was also the manager that presided over the only victory that Greece have managed in World Cup finals – a 2-1 win over Nigeria in 2010.
Greece was in Group G for the qualification campaign – one of the weaker groups in Europe. Only Bosnia-Herzegovina and Slovakia could have posed seriousa qualification problems for them. Both Greece and Bosnia-Herzegovina qualified easily but the problem of Greece has always been scoring goals and Bosnia-Herzegovina pipped them on superior goal difference to top the group and clinched the automatic spot in World Cup. Greece scored only 12 goals in 10 matches but their defence was as impregnable as ever conceding only four goals and none of them were from open play. Greece’s inability to score as well as to beat Bosnia-Herzegovina in either of their matches was responsible for them going into a two-legged play-off. Luck played its part that Greece faced Romania in the play-offs. Konstantinos Mitroglou scored three goals in the two legs and Greece drew 1-1 away and thrashed a sorry Romania 3-1 at home to qualify for the finals.
Mitroglou will lead the line in the 4-3-3 that manager Fernando Santos plays. Dimitris Salpingidis and Giorgios Samaras are the possible partners for Mitroglou. Greece has a plethora of defensive midfielders to battle for the centre but there is a lack of creative outlet that would free the defence. The early promise of Sotiris Ninis didn’t come through and so the creative burden would lie with Ioannis Fetfatzidis. Captain Giorgos Karagounis is the most capped Greek player in history and the 37-year-old would like his last major tournament to be a memorable one.
For the first time Greece got an opportunity of being in a group which doesn’t have any of the traditional superpowers of football and hence they would that feel there is a genuine chance of progress. However other teams in the group are probably better balanced. It may come down to the simple task of if they manage to find a regular goal scorer. If they do reach the second round, then the legend of Otto Rehhagel and his 2004 batch will have a companion.
This is the third straight World Cup for the Ivory Coast and their third ever World Cup. That probably proves that this is legitimately a golden generation of footballers who have achieved far more than any other set of footballers to play for the tiny African nation. They also are the top ranked African nation in FIFA ranking and hence have the burden of expectation to carry.
Ivory Coast was in Group C of African qualifying competition with Morocco, Tanzania and Gambia. Ivory Coast came into this qualifying campaign on the back of a heartrending 8-7 loss against Zambia in the final of the Africa Cup of Nations. Manager Francois Zahoui was sacked following this. A new and untested manager in the shape of Sabri Lamouchi was appointed. Lamouchi, born in France of Tunisian descent had played 12 times for France and had finished with his playing career only three years back in 2009. His ascent to the hot seat was out of the blue as he had no previous coaching experience at any level. In fact he had finished his coaching degrees only weeks before his assignment was to start. However he managed to bring fresh ideas which allowed Ivory Coast to breeze through the group undefeated and thus qualified for the second round of African qualifiers. At this stage they met Senegal, who had topped group J. Over a two-legged play-off, The Elephants beat Senegal 4-2 in aggregate where an away 1-1 draw consolidated the 3-1 win at home. The away trip was a nervy affair though. Senegal needed one more goal to go through on the basis of away goal until Salomon Kalou scored in the injury time.
The team still has 8-9 players who played in 2006 and 2010. This group, who have reached two finals of African Cup of Nations, only to lose in penalties over both time and to reach 2 World Cups and not go on to the second round, needs one last defining performance to truly call itself the golden generation. The likes of Didier Drogba, Toure brothers, goalkeeper Boubacar Barry are considered legends. The new generation of players like the Toulouse wing back – Serge Aurier, Saint-Etienne winger Max Gradel, Swansea City’s Wilfried Bony, Monaco’s Lacina Traore or CSKA Moscow’s Seydou Doumbia are very much part of the fabric that would take Ivory Coast forward in future. It is the success of these players’ integration into the current mix with the old hands that would define how far the run of The Elephants would be.
Among all the teams of Group C, it is Ivory Coast who should be happy with the teams they have been put with. Twice the Elephants had qualified for the World Cup and twice they were put in the Group of Death. In 2006, they had Serbia and Montenegro, The Netherlands and Argentina in their group and in 2010 that became Brazil, Portugal and North Korea. Finally they have a group where they would feel that they can be equals with any of the other teams but they would need a large dose of luck to get into the next round.
If there is one team from Asia that has progressed in terms of quality of football, it is Japan. Five straight World Cup qualifications show that they have mastered the art of showing up at the main event of world football. By reaching the round of 16 in 2010 World Cup, they have also shown that their team had learned the secret of qualifying from a group even when the tournament is not played at home.
Japan was placed in Group C in the third round of AFC qualification with Uzbekistan, North Korea and Tajikistan. Japan did just about enough to qualify through behind Uzbekistan as they lost against North Korea and Uzbekistan. Apart from their matches against Tajikistan, Japan couldn’t manage to score more than a single goal in any of their other matches. In the fourth round, Japan was paired with Australia, Jordan, Oman and Iraq. Apart from a loss to Jordan and two draws against Australia, Japan managed to win rest of their matches thus comfortably sealing the first spot. In the process, they became the first nation to qualify for the tournament after hosts Brazil as early as June 2013.
The team is full of foreign-based stars who are reaching their prime. The likes of goalkeeper Eiji Kawashima (Standard Liege) defenders Yuto Nagatomo (Inter Milan), Atsuto Uchida (Schalke 04), and Maya Yoshida (Southampton) midfielders Makoto Hasebe (Nurnberg) provide the solidity. The stars though are the attacking midfielders – Shinji Okazaki (Mainz), Shinji Kagawa (Man United), Keisuke Honda (AC Milan). Okazaki has 38 international goals (joint third in all time list for Japan), Honda has 20 (10th in all-time list) and Kagawa, the youngest of the lot, has 17 goals already. They are the three creative players who would shape much of Japan’s fortune. What they lack though is a true out and out striker. Two new strikers were introduced to fill this position – Yuya Osako and Yoichiro Kakitani. Osako has three goals in 6 appearances for Japan. The 23-year-old got a contract from TSV 1860 Munchen in January 2014 and in his 14 appearances, knocked up 6 goals for the German side. Kakitani who was the most valuable player in the AFC U-17 championship in 2006, is still playing in the J League but in his 9 appearances for the national team, has managed to find the net 4 times. If these two can keep true to their promise, then Japan would probably as exciting an attacking team as any in the tournament.
Manager Zaccheroni has faced some criticism over to his reluctance to introduce new blood into the team. Off late, he has introduced fresh faces in the team as they won the inaugural EAFF East Asian Cup. They also beat Belgium and drew with Holland in friendlies last November thus bolstering the confidence. Zaccheroni prefers to play the 4-2-3-1 where the trio of Honda, Okazaki and Kagawa roam behind the lone striker and wing-backs like Nagatomo and Uchida float past to provide wing options. With the quality in this team, the expectation back home is at least of a quarter-final but Japan would have to be wary of the defensive grit of Greece and the attacking flair of the Colombians, whom they have never beaten in their previous two encounters, to really hope for a smooth progress. Overall this is a talented team that can go far if their attacking talent can sprout fully.
A Year On: 5 African Finalists of World Cup 2010
The FIFA World Cup kicked off in Africa on June 11th, 2010 and the razzmatazz that followed was a historic one. It all started when FIFA announced South Africa as hosts of the tournament on 15May 2004, beating off competition from Morocco. While the tournament wasn’t due to kick off until some years’ time, South Africa and Africa as a whole was already reaping benefits evident in tourism boom and infrastructure improvement. Algeria, Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire, Nigeria, Ghana and South Africa graced the competition as Africa’s representatives. Before the tourney began, consulting firm Grant Thornton estimated that the event will contribute at least R51.1-billion to South Africa’s gross domestic product (GDP). Sani Lulu, then head of the Nigeria Football Federation had this to say before the start of the tournament: “Nigeria, which is competing at the World Cup, plans to open an exhibition on the sidelines of the tournament to promote investment in the oil-rich nation. We wish to showcase Nigeria and its enormous potentials via a Nigeria village at the World Cup.” Such was the anticipation of the various African participants to utilize the opportunities that the first World Cup in Africa would bring. More focus would have been on South Africa, the hosts.
I can safely say Nigeria didn’t gain much from partaking in the competition. Only notable increments were the US$1 million FIFA rewarded all participating teams for preparation costs and the US$8 million given to them for exiting the competition after the group stage. The Competition only served as a podium to highlight the numerous problems of the football nation. After a dismal display by the Nigerians, they returned home to meet a bombshell as the Nigerian president was utterly disappointed. “Mr. President has directed that Nigeria will withdraw from all international football competition for the next two years to enable Nigeria to reorganise its football.” Those were the words of Ima Niboro, Jonathan’s (The Nigerian President) senior communications adviser. The decision came a day after the executive committee of the NFF met to recap the country’s performance in which they picked up a single point and finished bottom of a group also containing South Korea, Greece and Argentina. Ultimately, Jonathan was forced to lift the ban after FIFA intervened. Barely anything has improved since then. This is manifested in the FIFA rankings. Nigeria was ranked 30th in the world and 4th in Africa after the World Cup. Now they occupy the 43rd and 6th positions, both globally and in Africa respectively.
Algeria left South Africa with a point from three matches. In the eyes of some it was a complete success seeing that participation in the competition ended a 24-year absence. Players like Djamel Mesbah and Hassan Yebda earned worldwide recognition as a result. FIFA’s decision to allow players over the age of 21 who have turned out for countries in junior football, to switch loyalties if they qualify for another senior international team has really helped in revitalizing Algerian football. This has allowed many quality players with French heritage to join the Algerian squad. Though Algeria has plummeted in the FIFA rankings since participating in the 2010 World Cup moving from 33rd position to its current 46th in the world, considerable developments in their football can’t be discounted. They too have moved two places down in the continental ranking since then, moving from 5th place to 7th place. But they have had some movement in the table being Africa’s biggest movers in the rankings in the month of April this year moving up 15 places to 40th position in the world.
After being placed alongside Brazil, Portugal and North Korea in the so called “Group of Death”, not much was expected from Les Éléphants. Africa’s strongest footballing nation went out of the tournament prematurely with their heads held high even though they couldn’t make it past the group stage. That did not take anything from a Cote d’Ivoire team that has been slowly ramping up its football over the years. They have since maintained momentum, establishing themselves as Africa’s best footballing nation. They have held on to the number one slot in Africa in the FIFA rankings, moving from 26th in the world to 16th so far. The country’s success in football though has done little to quell the perpetual Ivorian political crisis as the economy is still in a mess.
World Cup 2010 was Cameroon’s sixth appearance in this event – an African record. Much was expected from the highest ranked African team, but their hopes were shattered after they failed to qualify from a tough group. The Lions were the first team to be eliminated from the World Cup after a 2-1 loss to Denmark. Cameroon’s poor outing in the World Cup meant they went down 21 places in the FIFA rankings as well as to 7th position from their previous table topping position in Africa. Ongoing leadership disputes on and off the field have led to their steady downfall in recent years. They are now languishing in 8th position in Africa.
A quarter final exit in only their second appearance meant Ghana went away with prize money of US$14 million. A very young Ghanaian team made the continent proud. Rebranding of the national team and worldwide cognizance resulted in its players becoming hot property. Notable moves after the World Cup were Asamoah Gyan’s move from Rennes to Sunderland and Kevin Prince Boateng’s move from Portsmouth to Milan via Genoa. Ghana has become the proverbial honey where bees feed on. There are football clinics where children are brought together, some well-known local and international football idols and administrators to inspire the youth to greater heights. Club sides in Europe now want partnerships with local clubs or academies in Ghana. A good example is the pact between Holland’s Feyenoord and Feyenoord academy in Ghana. Such is the growth of Ghanaian football that the dictum now is “catch the next Asamoah Gyan from the cradle.” This has led to various football talent hunts in Ghana.
A Football Clinic in Ghana
Though the Bafana Bafana were eliminated at the group stage, hosting the World Cup had a gargantuan impact on their economy. There was amelioration of infrastructure since a lot of money was pumped into the sector prior to the World Cup. An estimated 130,000 jobs were created in the construction, hospitality and transport industry. According to Tourism Minister Marthinus van Schalkwyk, 309,000 tourists visited the country for the World Cup and spent over R3.6 billion (0.5 bn $) on the economy. President Jacob Zuma confirmed that the security demands of the tournament now meant the country had an additional 40,000 police officers. A monolithic rise in reputation amongst other countries of the world can’t be left out. “World Cup may be over but we’re still revelling in the profound positive effects this one event has brought to our country,” said Sthu Zungu, President, South African Tourism, North America. The tourism industry was one of the biggest gainers. According to Grant Thornton, 96% of visitors to the World Cup confirmed that they would visit South Africa again, while 92% said they would recommend it to friends and relatives. With the World Cup a total success, South Africa has made a bold statement in security to the world at a time when terrorism has become the order of the day and violence lacerating the peace of Africa nay the world.
Urban road system around Cape Town
This speaks volumes of its credentials as a peaceful nation and a friendly clime for those with business interests. The launch of latest James Bond novel in Cape Town is evidence to the increasing awareness. On a football sense, the World Cup served as a rostrum for players from the national team to showcase their skills to the world. The flourish of the South African Premier League was one that was discernible before the World Cup and now its worldwide awareness has heightened. The various stadia used during the World Cup are now being used by club sides as the domestic league is operating at the highest standards. The availability of quality facilities which is a boon to the young aspiring footballers will mean more quality players in the nation’s national pool in the long run. Kaizer Chief’s Knowledge Musona was sold for over 1 million £ to Germany’s Hoffenheim on July 28, 2011. Such transfer fee is a feature of quality leagues. The South African Premier League is not short of partnerships with European sides – Ajax Cape Town and AFC Ajax of Holland, Supersport United and Tottenham Hotspur of England are good examples. Bongani Khumalo became the first offspring of the union between Supersport United and Tottenham on October 26, 2010 when it was announced that Khumalo would be joining Tottenham Hotspur in January 2011 from partner club Supersport United after a successful trial in September, subject to a work permit for a fee of £1.5 million.
Bongani Khumalo, product of the South African Premier League
More examples of tiptop moves from the South African premier League to Europe include Bidvest Wits’ goalkeeper Darren Keet to Belgian club KV Kortrijk in June 2011 and Ajax Cape Town’s Thulani Serero to AFC Ajax. Only a vibrant league can churn out such quality players and only quality facilities like those from the World Cup can be substrate for a vibrant league. The fact that the South African Premier League is the seventh biggest earner of sponsorship revenue among football leagues worldwide has shown that South African football is refusing to look back. They have risen from 66th to 51st so far in the FIFA rankings since hosting the World Cup. Even an Olympic bid is being mooted. In a recent development, S. Africa will replace Libya as 2013 Nations Cup hosts as the latter nation has been torn apart by violence.
Tout ensemble, South Africa and Ghana were the biggest donees amassing developments in various sectors of the country including football. The other African countries that took part were far less successful as developments have been restricted. Truth is that the 2010 World Cup has gone a long way in extricating Africa from a quandary that has seen other parts of the world view it mediocrely.
Obasa Olalekan is an ardent lover of AC Milan. He can be contacted via twitter @obsylakeside