Africa unlikely to get more than 5 teams at 2022 SWC

2018-07-02 13:42
Nigeria (AP)
Cape Town - After all the persistent and widespread grimacing and grumbling that Africa deserved more than five teams at the current Soccer World Cup, the elimination of the continent's entire representation in Russia at the initial stage will almost certainly end the prospect of the number being increased in Qatar for the next extravaganza in 2022.

Directly it looms as a hammer blow for African soccer's future budding aspirations, while indirectly it could be construed as bad news for South Africa as well, with the obvious assessment that it will be tougher to make the grade should five African nations go to Qatar rather than six or seven.

And, what is more, the debacle in Russia has prompted more than a few cynics to suggest that Africa can thank its lucky stars that FIFA has already made a hasty decision on the continental representation issue for the 2026 World Cup in the USA, Mexico and Canada and awarded the Confederation of African Football (CAF) nine places when the number of teams will be increased from the present 32 to 48.

With the increase from five to nine countries, Africa has been favoured to a greater extent than any other continent for the inflation in teams, partly because the continent with a representation of 54 has a greater number than any other confederation at world soccer's controlling body.

Ironically, however, the vibrant, largely evenly-matched and unpredictable goings-on in Russia at the moment have only strengthened the argument of those who believe that 32 teams at the World Cup is an ideal number - and that 48 could make it a little ponderous with the resultant gap between the top teams and those at the bottom of the pile diminishing the excitement by making the outcome of a greater number of games and unpredictable.

In its present mode, Africa’s contingent of Senegal, Nigeria, Tunisia, Morocco and Egypt did not disgrace themselves, despite none of them winning more than one of their three matches and jointly amassing the worst outcome of any African contingent since 1982 with not any of the five making it to the second, 16-team knock-out stage of the tournament.

But the uniform level of professionalism that has prevented any African nation progressing beyond the quarter-final stage of the World Cup - Senegal, Cameroon and Ghana have made it each on one occasion to this point - has again been shown to be an elusive commodity.




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