Kennedy:Why West and North African regions dominate football

The Ghana Blackstars team during a past match.West and North African countries have dominated African football slowly edging out East African countries PHOTO COURTESY

For decades, Western and the Northern Regions of Africa have been doing well in  (AFCON) and World cup qualifiers.

Am sure if you are a football enthusiast you know that, names like Egypt Algeria, Tunisia, Morocco, Cameroon, Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire, Senegal, Togo, and Nigeria have featured prominently in matters African football.

The Eastern part of Africa has a rich history with AFCON too as the first African country to host for this continental match back in 1957 was Sudan.

More interestingly, the hosts lost in the semifinals while neighboring Ethiopia lost the finals to Egypt leaving the Pharaoh’s to carry the record of the first Africa country to carry an AFCON title.

East Africa countries tried to show the best performance in late 1978 where the Uganda national soccer team, The Cranes reached the finals for the first time but lost  2-0 to Black Stars of Ghana.

Since 1978 to date 2018, none of the Eastern African countries have reached the finals again. The question remains, what happened to Eastern Africa countries not shining in football?

And the answer again remains pending.

The mid-90s had West Africa dominating and the emergence of new talented players may leave football enthusiasts argue that they have put their countries on the roadmap.

 Mohamed Salah Despite Egypt’s capitulation at the hands of Ghana during the CAF World Cup Qualifying play-offs, Pharaohs forward Mohamed Salah remains one of the continent’s most exciting attackers. He has won several titles in Africa as the best player.

Larbi Ben Barek a sublime talent who would deserve a place right at the pinnacle of this list, but the Black Pearl represented France and never his native Morocco. Considering him would have opened the door to players such as Marcel Desailly, Basile Boli, Claude Makelele, and Patrick Vieira.

Another footballer star from  West Africa region is non other than Sadio Mané. Mané from Senegal is a technical winger. His dribbling skills and movements complement the fluidity of Senegal’s attack. He is unselfish in setting up teammates counter attacks but isn’t afraid to cut back or keep the ball in scoring attempts his great. He led Senegal football team to Russia world cup 2018.

Asamoah Gyan, The great caveat, when evaluating Asamoah Gyan’s statistics and form, is that the striker has been playing in Ghana. He has once again been named to the shortlist for the CAF 2013 African Footballer of the Year and contributed greatly to his country in AFCON games.

Didier Drogba the menace in the football game in Africa and even in the world is one of African football’s elder statesmen. The only absence from his honor-dripping CV is the success with his national side, Cote d’Ivoire. Despite being the figurehead of the Elephants’ Golden

Generation and a national icon, Drogba and his team-mates have repeatedly struggled in the latter stages of the Cup of Nations.

You can’t mention all the football legends in Africa and forget to mention the name Samuel Eto’o. The Cameroonian is well known for his incomparable record among his African peers, he was part of the squad that won the Gold medal in 2000 Olympics and also helped his team to win the 2000 and 2002 AFCON.

Eto’o has participated in four world cup and six Africa Cup of Nation seasons.

In my opinion, those countries have good governance of their football federations hence paving way for good  Infrastructure, and facilities.

For instance, Egypt which won the African Cup of Nations 7 times, has a total of 27  International soccer stadiums spread around the country unlike wise to us in Kenya we have only one International stadium Kasarani that has standard qualifications required by CAF.

Back in East Africa,day to day power wrangles, corruption, and political interference is the order of the day.

Here in Kenya, the fact that none of the football clubs in the Kenya Premier League supports FKF is a clear sign that they have lost faith in its managers.

But all in all financial difficulty presents the biggest threat to the game of football in the Eastern region.

Over the years, the most successful clubs are the ones that have placed the need to monetize on top of their agenda, of course with football being the tool to fuel the marketing aspect.