Arsene Wenger tips Ivory Coast, Cameroon
Posted: 10 June 2010 Time: 15:57
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger believes Ivory Coast are the African team most likely to challenge for the World Cup trophy.
Speaking at the Castrol Index event in Sandton, the Frenchman believes the Elephants have the best all-round squad to challenge the big boys, with or without the injured Didier Drogba. “If Didier Drogba is not fit they still have quality players – offensively they are not short,” he tells KickOff.com. “If you want to look at the quality of a team, you look at how many of their players play at big clubs. There are ten big clubs maybe in the world, and they have the highest percentage of players at big clubs, so they have the highest potential. But they have a difficult group. “The second one I see is Cameroon. They have good players, but they don’t seem to have taken off in the preparations at all. And I’m not sure they don’t have internal problems there.” Wenger also believes Bafana Bafana could play a part in the latter rounds, saying: “The question mark is South Africa. They can have good team performances, but look a little bit short quality wise.” Asked who he believes the next African superstar will be, Wenger responded: “I don’t know the answer to that. There is no-one at the moment. But this World Cup will be a great opportunity to see who the next African superstar will be. “Africa is a goldmine for football and the talent is waiting to be unearthed. The other night I watched Brazil play against Tanzania. Tanzania lost heavily, but there were two players I saw – one a Walcott type – who immediately made me say, “I need to find out more”. So who is his pick for the World Cup semi-finals? “Spain, Argentina, England and Holland. Spain are in good form – they won 6-0 the other night and looked on a different planet. Holland are also in great form.” And what about Brazil? “I love Brazil. I’ve always been a great admirer of their teams. Of course it can happen that Brazil will win. They will be solid, but they don’t have the creative talent of previous teams. That’s why I think they may struggle.” Asked what he thought about Diego Maradona as a manager, Wenger said: “He could be an advantage or a disadvantage. He will inspire his players, but will his name and aura get in the way? Also, he lacks experience, so will he stay cool and composed and make the right decisions?” * For more on the Castrol Index, visit Castrol Football (link to www.castrolfootball.com)