The whole continent awaits to see their boys do them proud at the FIFA World Cup 2014 and today we take a look at the African giants of football; Nigeria, Cameroon, Cote d’Ivore and Ghana.
THE SUPER EAGLES
Nigeria had a dramatic route to qualification after surviving a scare in Addis Ababa where Ethiopia appeared headed to cause a rare turn of events by taking the lead in the first leg game but Nigeria survived the storm and came out 2-1 winners and went to win 4-1 on aggregate with a 2-0 win back on home soil to set a date in Brazil.
With a formidable squad coupled with unity, team work and good support from the fans and their country at large, the African champions are set for the group stages to face big names. A group containing Argentina, Iran and Bosnia-Herzegovina seems fair enough for the men in green but Argentina is expected to be a big obstacle.
The South Americans found themselves with Nigeria in the 2010 WC and won 1-0 in a tight encounter and with players like Lionel Messi, Sergio Aguero and Angel Di Maria leading the Attack, the African champions should be well prepared. In their friendly match against Greece, the super eagles looked well organized with a pacy attack force led by Victor Moses assisted by Emmanuel Eminike and Shola Ameobi and seems like they are all up to the task.
THE INDOMITABLE LIONS
The Indomitable Lions
Cameroon is back after missing out of WC 2010 in South Africa. The Lions were in celebratory mood after seeing out Tunisia in the journey to Brazil. But things have been Rocky for the Lions during the preparation stages with players going on strike overdue payments and finding themselves in the toughest group than any other African side where they will have to face the host Brazil, the tricky Mexico and the unpredictable Croatia.
In addition, Cameroon is having a squad with a lot of new faces into the international scene and will have to depend largely on the vast experience of 33 year old Samuel Etoo and Barcelona Midfielder Alexander Song. Will the lions roar or will they take a bow in the group stage?
THE BLACK STARS
The Black Stars
Ghana is in good shape on its way to Brazil after having a smooth qualification phase which it crowned by drubbing Egypt in aggregate. Ghana proved to be the best African side in South Africa 2010 when they got unluckily eliminated by Uruguay at the quarter finals where Suarez had to save a goal bound ball with his hands for only Gyan to miss the penalty in the dying seconds which could have changed the game around.
The stars head to Brazil with good players such as the experienced Michael Essien, Asamoah Gyan and Andrew Ayew. Having fallen in a group that has been termed “the group of death” with the likes of Germany, the troublesome U.S.A and Portugal (the team bearing the World’s best player, Cristiano Ronaldo), the Ghanaians will have to improve on the performance they put up during the last world cup.
Ivory Coast, who happen to be a highly rated African side, heads to Brazil as expected after putting up an outstanding performance in the qualification stages. Seeing off Senegal in the two legged tie was so much expected as the fellow West African side could not do much.
But the much star studded Africans have been a disappointment in major International tournaments failing to live up to expectations in the last world cup and also in the African cup of Nations. With a squad comprising of players like Manchester city’s playmaker Yaya Toure, Liverpool’s Kolo Toure, ‘Arsenal bound’ Aurier, Swansea’s Wilfred Bonny, French league player Solomon Kalou among others; the Elephants once again carry a lot of expectations for the entire continent.
With Didier Drogba probably playing his last world cup, the captain has a big task to lead the team to greater heights. In a group containing Colombia, Greece and Japan; the Elephants are expected to find a way through to the second round this time and likely beyond.
THE FENNEC FOXES
The Fennec Foxes
Algeria have now qualified for the biggest football event four times. The past three times 1982, 1986 and 2010, they failed to go past the group stage. Their memorable Word Cup is in 1982 when they beat West Germany 2-1 but still failed to go past round one. However this season the Foxes are out to make a statement in Brazil going by their target man Islam Slimani, 26, might be their hero. The Sporting Lisbon striker says he has had a fantastic season with his club, helping them to finish second. He hopes to translate the good form of result into his national team in Brazil and make history by reaching the second round of the tournament.
Algeria is in group H together with the Ruthless Belgium, Russia and Korea Republic. Going by the statics, the desert foxes are the underdogs, but as they say ‘football is not played nor won on paper’. Will Algeria finally break the jinx this season? We wait to find out. Their first game is against Belgium on 17th June.