Masinga defends Africa's performance


Africa's poor return in Brazil is likely to cast a dark shadow on the possibility of Fifa increasing the number of teams from the continent that will take part in the 2018 showcase.

Only two out of five African teams – Nigeria and Algeria – progressed beyond the group stages of this year’s edition of the competition.

They were both eliminated in the last 16 stage to complete another miserable World Cup for Africa.

Prior to the tournament, Safa president Danny Jordan unsuccessfully attempted to convince a Fifa Congress in Sao Paulo to consider greater representation for African countries in future World Cups as well as on the Fifa executive.

“It is always thrown in our face that no African team has ever gone beyond the quarter-final stage, with only Cameroon and Ghana having progressed that far,” he told the media shortly after the congress.

However despite the fact that no African team made it beyond the second round of the tournament, retired South African football legend Phil Masinga says the elimination of the continent’s representatives should be understood in the correct context.

“It was a tough World Cup for Africa,” the former Leeds United and Bafana Bafana striker tells    

“To start with, the teams were placed in very difficult groups.”

“It was always going to be tough on Cameroon, who were placed in a group that also included Brazil, Mexico and Croatia. It was never going to be easy for them.

“Nigeria and Algeria did well in their respective groups. We are quick to forget that Algeria scored five [Ed: four] goals against South Korea, a record for an African country in the World Cup,” adds Masinga.

“That two African teams made it to the second round of the tournament means that they are among the 16 best teams in the world, which is an achievement. Do not forget that the World Cup is only contested by the very best teams in the world,” Masinga explains.

On Africa’s representation in the World Cup, Masinga believes results alone must not be the barometer upon which such decisions are made.

“Increasing the number of African teams participating in the World Cup will have a positive effect in terms of the development of the game," he argues.

“In football, the results may not always mean that one team is better than the other."

While Africa had five representatives at this year’s World Cup, Europe boasted 13 teams, South America six while Central/North America and Asia provided four each.