African football is the next big thing

African football is highly underrated. Hear me out.

Whatever it is that you like about football, you will find it in African football.

Is it the fans?

Africa has the wildest atmosphere in its stadiums. No matter the game, no matter the opponent, supporters will always show up and support their team as loud as they can, in and out.

Fans make the atmosphere so intimidating to the point that playing away (home advantage) becomes the hardest thing ever. On the other hand, when playing at home, you are sure to have loud supporters to back you up and help you reach the unreachable.

Not convinced yet, check out this video:

Is it the youth developing system?

African football youth developing system is one of the finest, the results speak for themselves.

Ever since the U23 rule was introduced to the Olympic Games back in 1992, Africa managed to get 5 medals. Do you know who else got 5 medals? Europe.

Out of the 22 U20 World Cups that have been played throughout history, African teams reached the Top-4 9 times, winning once (Ghana against Brazil in 2009), coming 2nd 4 times, 3rd 4 times and 4th twice.

Ghana celebrating their U20 World Cup victory
Source: Ghana soccer net

African football dominates the U17 World Cup. Winning it 7 times, Africa managed to do better than any other continent.

Is the quality of the players?

You cannot possibly mention quality football without mentioning the likes of Eto’o, Drogba, Toure, Naybet, Ziyech, Aubameyang, Salah, Mane, etc.

These are all players that made huge names for themselves in worldwide scene. World class players that proved and are still proving that African football is a gold mine for football lovers.

Eto’o and Drogba during a CAN game
Source: L’attaquant

Now that we have discussed all the previous points, let us have a quick history session.

African teams that made history in the World Cup

Morocco became in 1986 the first African team to reach the 2nd round of the tournament. They did it in style as they topped their group facing England, Poland, and Portugal (whom they defeated 3-1 by the way)

Cameroun set the bar even higher for African nations in the World Cup when they reached the Quarters in 1990. They managed to defeated Argentina in the group stage, topped their group. They left the World Cup in a cruel way after losing to England in the Quarters after a very stressful penalty session.

Cameroun players celebrating a goal in the 1990 World Cup
Source: FIFA

Senegal reached the Quarters back in 2002, they knocked Sweden out in the round of 16 and came second in a group where they faced Denmark, Uruguay, and France.

Senegal were close to reaching the round of 16 during the 2018 World Cup in Russia. Had it not been for the fair-play rule, they would have been the ones to face Belgium.

Senegal celebrating a goal during the 2018 World Cup
Source: BFM

We cannot talk about African glory in the World Cups without managing the team that won everyone’s hearts in 2010, Ghana.

The Black Stars left the World Cup after losing in penalties against Uruguay. They had their chance at the very late minutes of extra-time after THAT Suarez handball. Unfortunately, Gyan missed THAT penalty.

Ghana during the penalty session against Uruguay, 2010
Source: Orange Football Club

African football is full of quality. African football is one of the best there is. African football is evolving… slowly but steady and surely.

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Sources:

Ghana U20: https://ghanasoccernet.com/black-satellites-conquer-cairo-spark-ghanaian-rise
Eto’o & Drogba: https://www.lattaquant.com/quand-samuel-etoo-imite-didier-drogba/
Cameroun 1990: https://fr.fifa.com/worldcup/news/angleterre-camarade-jeu-lion-milla-510819
Senegal 2018: https://rmcsport.bfmtv.com/football/coupe-du-monde-le-senegal-demande-le-licenciement-du-presentateur-de-la-bbc-1476368.html
Ghana 2010: https://orangefootballclub.com/fr/articles/cinq-matches-inoubliables-du-mondial-ghana-uruguay-2010/