Magazine article New African

World Cup Jitters

Magazine article New African

World Cup Jitters

Article excerpt

It's an ironic, frightening thought that our continent will mount an assault in South Africa without its best team leading the charge.

Winning a historic third straight African Cup of Nations title in a row-and their seventh overall--Africa is, without question, the kingdom of Egypt's Pharaohs.

With a strong defensive spine, a well-oiled midfield and sharp counter attacking skills, not to mention the tactical nous of their manager Hassan Shehata--who has deservedly earned a place in the pantheon of African legends--they have accomplished a feat that may never be equalled in my lifetime. Outhinking and outplaying the five teams that qualified for the World Cup--Nigeria, Cote d'lvoire, Cameroon, Algeria, and Ghana--on their way to the African title in Angola, in a dominant manner that exposed, clearly, the frailties of the quintet, leaves me full of dread for the fate of the continent in South Africa.

Will Nigeria's pathetically weak midfield be able to cope with the intimidating genius of Argentina's Lionel Messi? And how can their new manager, whoever that will be, following the deserved but ill-timed sacking of Shaibu Amodu, create a competitive team with barely three months to the tournament?

Can Cote d'Ivoire's leaking defence cope with the formidable attacking skills of Kaka's Brazil, who are the clear favourites to win football's crown jewel for a record sixth time?

Will Rabah Saadane's Algeria be able to get the better of Fabio Capello's England? …

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