Wednesday, November 20, 2013

ITS A WEST AFRICAN WORLD CUP! Congrats to Nigeria, Cameroon, Ghana, Ivory Coast and Algeria

After months of World Cup qualifiers which eventually ended in Tuesday’s second leg play-off showdown, Nigeria, Ivory Coast, Cameroon, Algeria, and Ghana just sealed their places as Africa’s representative for next year’s World Cup in Brazil.

NIGERIA: Current African champions Nigeria became the first African side to qualify for the 2014 World Cup after beating Ethiopia 2-0 in Calabar on Saturday. Chelsea starlet on loan to Liverpool Victor Moses booked the first goal for the Super Eagles when he converted from the penalty spot after Ethiopia’s Aynalem Hailu was fouled by the referee for handling the ball in the area. The second goal for the Nigerian team came later on in the game; substitute Victor Obinna sealed Nigeira’s place in Brazil when his free-kick found its way to the back of the net giving Nigeria a comfortable 4-1 aggregate win.
The Super Eagles of Nigeria qualified for the World Cup in 1994 and current head coach, Stephen Keshi captained the team back then, Keshi will once again make his appearance at the World Cup, only this time, he will be leading an entire team.  The Super Eagles also qualified for the World Cup in 1998, 2002 and 2010, and for the 2014 World Cup, Nigeria is now through to their 5th finals.

CAMEROON: Cameroon became the second West African nation to qualify for the World Cup right after Nigeria. The Indomitable Lions of Cameroon are back in action after years of confusion, while they still have a lot of work to do ahead of the 2014 WC, they were able to defeat Tunisia 4-1 convincingly in the second leg of the play-offs which off cause thrilled their fans across the world. Spoke to one fan Samuel, he said: “I can’t wait to fly to Brazil to witness mycountry play next year.”
On their way to Brazil in their 7th World Cup appearance, let’s all hope that Coach Finke will be able to put the house in order. Already, he seems to be in the right direction with Samuel Eto’o back in the team and with the county in focus and not individuals, the Indomitable Lions are bound to make a comeback. Till date, their WC best performance was in the 1990  where they bowed out of the tournament in the Quarter-finals.

IVORY COAST: Joining Nigeria and Cameroon, Cote D’Ivoire has also qualified for their third World Cup in a row after ruling out Senegal on a 4-2 aggregate.  However, despite their victorious celebration, the fans are still unhappy with the team’s coach. Local fans including journalists of the African favorites are all calling for the removal of current head coach Sabri Lamouchi whom according to them ‘lacks depth of knowledge and proven experience’ they will need for the upcoming World Cup. The Elephants’ jittery performance against the Teranga Lions in Casablanca, Morocco on Saturday rekindled a waning animosity for the former Inter Milan midfielder, who is now Ivory Coast coach. The Elephants completed their race for the World Cup after coming from behind to hold the Teranga Lions of Senegal to a 1-1 draw in the playoff second leg on Saturday in Casablanca and advance 4-2 on aggregate.
Team captain and current Galatasaray striker who led the Elephants to their first ever World Cup 7 years ago, Didier Drogba is looking to rewrite history this time. The Ivoirians failed to go past the group stage during their two previous appearances in 2006 (Germany) and 2010 (South Africa)
“We want to do better at next year’s World Cup. The previous two were difficult,” he concluded. 

GHANA: The Black stars of Ghana booked their tickets to next year's World Cup finals in Brazil, despite losing 2-1 to Egypt in the second leg of their play-off.Ghana made it to their third successive finals thanks to a 6-1 victory in the first leg from last month which helped them win on a 7-3 on aggregate. The Pharaohs, who needed to score at least five unanswered goals to turn the tie their favor worked very hard backed by a vociferous crowd but the expected result remained elusive.
Ghana made their debut at the World Cup in 2006 in Germany, before reaching the quarters four years later in South Africa, losing to Uruguay painfully on penalties.

Fighting for a chance for Brazil 2014, Amr Zaki gave Egypt a faint hope in Caira when he scored after 25 minutes, Gedo rifled in a second late on. However, Black stars returnee Kevin-Prince Boateng struck on 89 minutes to give Ghana the last word.

ALGERIA: Joining 4 West African countries, Algeria qualified for the 2014 World Cup after beating Burkina Faso 1-0 in their World Cup  second leg play-off in Blida. Algeria's captain Madjid Bougherra led by example scoring the decisive goal against Burkina Faso and hand Les Fennecs the final African slot for the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Bougherra’s 49th minute effort ensured the North African side sealed their place in Brazil on the away goals rule after a 3-3 aggregate draw. Trailing by one goal after last month's first leg, Algeria showcased a strong and reseliant side as they were bent on rewriting the history books with their debut qualification to next year's World Cup.