Sports
Siphiwe Tshabalala opens up the scoring in 2010. (Youtube)

7 of the Most Exciting Moments in African World Cup History

From South Africa's opening goal to Cameroon's run in 1990.

No African nation has made it past the quarterfinals of the World Cup… yet.

African teams have however been part of the most spirited and exciting World Cup events and narratives. These moments will be remembered for years to come. Moments such as;


Cameroon's run to the quarter-finals in Italy, 1990.

Cameroon's 1990 tournament is memorably linked to Roger Milla. At 38, The oldest man in the tournament peppered the game with his age-defying exploits and his corner-flag celebration routine. Millas's hip-shimmying celebration is remembered fondly because it shows a boundless and pure joy for the love of the sport.

The Cameroonians opened the World Cup with a daunting matchup with the World Cup champions, Argentina, led by Diego Maradona. The only goal in the opening game came in the 67th minute when Francois Omam-Biyik's downward header went straight into net. In one of the greatest shocks in the tournament's history, The Indomitable Lions stunned the world and secured a 1-0 victory against Argentina setting the stage for an exciting campaign.

Against Romania, Roger Milla scored twice in a 2-1 win and though they lost 4-0 in the final preliminary game against the Soviets, they still advanced as group winners.

They faced Colombia next and after a scoreless ninety minutes, Milla again proved the difference in extra time. The 38-year-old scored a magnificent two goals resulting in a 2-1 win for Cameroon.

In the quarter-final, the Indomitable Lions encountered England, who quickly took the lead. A penalty kick from Emmanuel Kundé equalised the game and a stunning goal from Eugène Ekéké put Cameroon ahead. Cameroon then conceded two penalties, which England's Gary Lineker converted converted to send England through to the semi-finals.

Cameroons journey to the quarter finals, ensured that from then on, African teams were looked upon as genuine threats.

South Africa's opening goal in South Africa, 2010.

Hosts South Africa kicked off the first world cup game on African soil with a match against Mexico. At the 55th minute, a glorious thunderbolt long-range strike by Siphiwe Tshabalala whizzed past Mexican goalie Oscar Perez and sent the home fans into uproar as the World Cup burst into life. Africa's World Cup was up and running! The invigorating feeling swept across the entire continent. Even when Rafael Marquez gave Mexico an equaliser 11 minutes from time, the excitement for an electric tournament to come was sparked.

Tunisia, Africa's first match win in Argentina, 1978.

In 1978, Tunisia became the first African country to win a match at a World Cup tournament.

The first half of the game was tough for the Tunisians and at the end of the first half, Mexico were in the lead 1-0. At half time, Tunisia were transformed by a moving pep talk from coach Abdelmajid Chetali.

Tunisia rallied and came into the second half more aggressive, ten minutes into the second half Ali Kaabi equalised for the North Africans. Nejib Ghommidh scored a second in the 80th minute and Three minutes later, Mokhtar Dhioub scored the third goal.

They may not have escaped the pool, but the North Africans secured a historic victory for Africa with that win.

Ghana vs. Uruguay in South Africa, 2010.

At the thrilling quarter final between Ghana and Uruguay, a villain was born. Ghana was the only African country to have made it past the group stage and into the quarter finals. The Black Stars were holding the entire continent's fate in their hands. After an impressive and exciting game, the match went into extra time with the teams tied 1-1.

In the final minute of extra time, Ghana's Dominic Adiyiah's goal-bound header looked certain to win the match but Luis Suarez blocked the ball with his hand resulting in a red card for Suarez and a penalty conceded to Ghana. A supercharged tension fell over the stadium as Asamoah Gyan set up for the penalty. When Gyan's powerful kick hit the crossbar, an honest heart break was felt throughout the continent as Suarez celebrated in the side-lines.

The still tied game is forced into a penalty shootout which results in Uruguay winning the game and making it to the semi finals to face Holland. Ghana's agonizing despair was shared by the entire continent and Luis Suarez became the biggest villain of the game.

Algeria's win over West Germany in Spain, 1982.

Algeria beat West-Germany, the European champions, with a shocking 2-1 victory in their first-ever World Cup appearance at the 1982 tournament.

In the 53rd minute a beautiful chip from Lakhdar Belloumi, the African footballer of the year, let in Rabah Madjer to score the opening goal sending the Algerian supporters in the stadium dancing with joy.

Karl Heinz Rummenigge the European footballer of the year, scored the equaliser in the 67th minute and a minute later Lakhdar Belloumi, scored the famous winning goal.

The West Germans were in shock. The victory was a great embarrassment to Jupp Derwall, the West German coach, who promised that if his team did not beat Algeria "he would catch the first train home." Unfortunately, Algeria were then sabotaged by one of the World Cup's most blatant cases of match-fixing.

Algeria were eliminated in the first round following collusion between Austria and West Germany. The two European neighbours, knowing that a German victory by one or two goals would see both sides through, played for that specific result. Austria and West Germany both reached the next round at the expense of the Africans.

The controversy surrounding that incident led FIFA to ensure that final group games would kick off simultaneously at future tournaments.

Senegal beats France in South Korea, 2002.

Senegal were placed in one of the more difficult groups of the competition which included Denmark, and two previous world cup winners France and Uruguay.

The Cup's opening match saw them play 1998 world cup champions France. The French team had Thierry Henry, David Trezeguet, Patrick Vieira, and essentially most of the same players who won the 1998 FIFA World Cup and the 2000 UEFA Championship.

Again, little respect was given to the African side. During the match, the French defense found it could not handle the pace and strength of Senegal's attack. A midfield turnover provided Senegal the opportunity it needed when El Hadji Diouf's ensuing cross was driven home by Papa Bouba Diop, stunning France into silence.

Like Cameroon taking down Argentina 12 years before, Senegal had dethroned the champions, the World Cup kicked off with an African team beating one of the world's best teams... again.

After two draws against Denmark and Uruguay, Senegal qualified for the round 16. They defeated Sweden in extra time when Henri Camara scored a golden goal to send the African team to the quarter finals.

Nigeria crushes Bulgaria in USA, 1994.


Nigeria's unforgettable debut in the tournament had them face Bulgaria who would go on to make it to the semi-finals.

The Super Eagles side containing, Finidi George, Rashidi Yekini and Daniel Amokachi smashed the Eastern Europeans 3-0 in a match that was one of Africa's finest single performances at the World Cup.

In a sweeping 21st minute move, Yekini converted a pass from George Finidi. When he scored he kept running until he reached the rear of the net. Yekini shook the netting maniacally with both hands, his eyes wired shut as he screamed with delight.

Daniel Amokachi scored Nigeria's second goal just before halftime on the 44th minute. Emmanuel Amunike put the match to bed with the last goal, sealing a 3-0 victory for the Super Eagles.





News Brief
Photo via Senator Millicent Omanga Facebook Page

Twitter Reacts to Photo's of Kenyan MPs in Russia

Kenyan MPs in Russia say they traveled to watch the World Cup on official business, Kenyan's have called them out for wasting tax money.

Soccer is always political, but for many Kenyans the debate became less about the politics of supporting England and more about questioning the presence of Kenyan politicians in Russia following the semi-finals yesterday.

After Senator Millicent Omanga posted pictures of herself in Russia enjoying the game, people on social media were quick to ask the relevant questions. Who was paying for the plane tickets, hotels, and access to the games? Why exactly did these politicians need to be at the game? How many Kenyan politicians where in Russia?


The Kenyan Sports Minister Rashid Echesa told the BBC that just six MPs were authorized to travel so that they could better understand how to host international tournaments. It has been reported that 20 MP's have travelled to Russia for the games. Some of the MP's on the trip include Victor Munyaka, Wafula Wamunyinyi, Sylvanus Maritim, and Peter Kaluma (Homa Bay Town) according to Star Newspaper.

Senator Clerk Jeremiah Nyegenye was quoted by Star Newspaper as saying, "It is their responsibility to understand sports, how to host such international tournaments. This is not a holiday and it is too simplistic to look at it as a joyrider mission."

He added, "From where we stand, this is official business, only that it is happening in Russia. Had it been happening in Somalia or even Uasin Gishu county, we would still have a team there."

BBC reported that when traveling on official business, Kenyan MPs are entitled to daily allowances for expenses of around $1,000. It is unclear how many MP's are using state allowance and how many are paying for their trips themselves.


Twitter has been responding to these justifications asking why the "team" can't be an actual football team rather than Kenyan politicians enjoying like at the games. World Cup season always bring up questions about how athletes are supported on the continent, perhaps its time for politicians to consider supporting athletes as well as they support themselves.






Op-Ed
he Lions of Teranga's dance celebration. Photo: Kicks to the Pitch.

Senegal and the Cruelty of the Fair Play Rule

Op-Ed: For African teams, the Fair Play Rule isn't fair at all.

So, Senegal has been kicked out of the World Cup, and rather cruelly as well.

As a man with loosened tie nursing his 14th warm Tusker beer in a Nairobi bar exclaimed during the game, 'Oh damn, what a bummer' to anyone who would listen. It was yet another delightful gut punch in the storied and questionable history of African World Cup teams. Ask any Algerian about 1982 some time, chances are they'll mutter with deep seeded bitterness and it'd be a wise call to end that conversation (quickly).

Grand conspiracies in the world of sport are dime a dozen and typically debunked with a quick kick down onto the ash heap of history. Such is not the point, but once again, we find ourselves in a World Cup year, and as seemingly always happens, controversy has poked its head squarely into the mix by landing afoul of African squads vying for second round qualifications and Senegal has born the brunt.

As such, I'm actively forming an aluminum foil hat; there was a myriad of strange and inexplicable bullshit cutting against African squads in the 2018 group stage, there are some things that deserve to be harshly addressed.

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