LONDON. – “When I first started to coach Cote d’lvoire I said to Didier Drogba: ‘We have some fantastic players and we can go far in the World Cup.’ He said: ‘No we can’t’.”
Sven-Goran Eriksson is trying to shed some light on why Africa is still waiting for a first World Cup soccer triumph more than 20 years after Brazil legend Pele predicted a winner from the continent by 2000. By the end of the 2010 World Cup, the Swede understood Drogba was not being negative – just realistic.
“The reason why they don’t do it? One word: organisation. It was total chaos when I joined,” Eriksson told BBC Sport.
At one stage, Pele’s prediction looked like it might come to pass. Nigeria came top of a group featuring Argentina and Diego Maradona at the 1994 edition, while the likes of George Weah and Jay-Jay Okocha were making their mark in Europe during the 1990s.
Yet Africa, the second most-populated continent and a place where football is king, has still to produce a team to advance beyond the quarter-finals – let alone lift the gold trophy.
Egypt, Morocco, Nigeria, Senegal and Tunisia will compete in Russia later this month – but few believe they will get near the final, including former Cameroon defender Lauren. – BBC Sport.