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President is positive

Kennedy Gondwe/Twenty Ten

Location: Johannesburg, South Africa

COSAFA President analyses African football.

Associated Features: No Redemption (Text Feature) Can Africa Beat the Dutch? (Text Feature) A Shaman’s Predictions (Text Feature) Associated feature: Vuvuzela Day

After South Africa won the right to host the World Cup, there might not have been a region that buzzed with euphoria as much as Southern Africa. Its people anticipated a trickle-down effect on economies, a tourism boost, infrastructural development and most importantly a turn around of fortunes on the pitch.

However, Southern Africans only had one representative, South Africa, by virtue of hosting of the tournament. With only three matches summarising their participation, with a draw, a loss and a win, South Africa have been eliminated. They have become the first World Cup hosts not to progress past the group stages. But Suketu Patel, the President of the region’s football body, COSAFA, is not entirely disappointed by what he has seen on pitch.

“Without a doubt the performance has been disappointing. South Africa played fairly well in the first match,” says the Seychellois. “But the expectations of the South African team playing at home were far higher than they performed.”

Patel thinks that in as much as it was disappointing, it was also not surprising that African teams failed to progress to higher levels in the competition. Giving the 1974 World Cup as an example, when Africa’s first and sole representative Democratic Republic of Congo (then called Zaire) were pummelled 9-0 by Yugoslavia, Patel...

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