After qualifying for the World Cup in 1978 for Tunisia, in 1986 for Morocco and in 1990 for Cameroon, world-renowned football player, Pelé said that not later than 2000 that an African team will have won the World Cup.
It has been 19 years now after Pelé’s prediction but the only teams that made it far were Senegal, Cameroon and Ghana who made it to ¼ finals during the qualifiers in 2002, 1990 and 2010 respectively.
In an interview President Paul Kagame had with the East African about the growth of the football industry in Africa, President Kagame was asked if he thinks any African team could win the World Cup.
He responded that he has watched all the World Cups that happened in the last 30 years and said he finds that there are some important criteria African teams neglect and that would help them reach the finals.
“I cannot quite confirm that African teams are capable of qualifying for the World Cup given that it sometimes results from low to no support from their governments. Why do we have all the resources but yet remain the poorest? Is it because we have no idea what we should do? Most of us know what is needed but we don’t do it. I closely watched all the World Cups that happened in the past 30 years.”
President Kagame said that if you analyze the way African teams play, their performance is commendable but they have ingrained negative mentalities that they cannot compete with bigger teams.
“Our teams are competent enough. They play with energy at the beginning of competitions but at some point, they get discouraged. Some of the teams think that the farthest they can go is playing with strong teams like France and don’t feel any shame because they lost to a big team and that is the most they could do.”
Africans are very competent football players but they need to learn from other big players and adopt their attitudes.
In last year’s World Cup that was held in Russia, Africa was represented by Egypt, Morocco, Nigeria, Senegal and Tunisia.
Are Rwandans capable of winning ‘Tour de France’?
Rwanda and Eritrea are quickly evolving in the cycling sport and come after South Africa that has for a long time led the continent in this sport.
President Kagame was asked if he thinks a Rwandan or Eritrean could win ‘Tour de France and he answered that Rwandans are quite talented in this sport and that there is hope, one of them could win in the near future.
“There are so many talented professional cyclists in Rwanda and Eritrea who are confident enough to win the competition.”
President Kagame who usually is a diehard Formula 1 fan predicts that Lewis Hamilton, a British racing driver who drives a Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport is very likely to win the competition for the seventh time next year based on his attitude and the advanced technology his car is made with.