Football Football

No African team in WC semis, Biyik


BIYIK-GOALNAIROBI, Kenya, February 7 – After playing three World Cups in 1990, 94 and 98, former Cameroon international, François Omam-Biyik, has ruled out any African side reaching the semifinals at 2014 Brazil World Cup despite many rooting for Ghana.

Biyik, who scored the lone goal that gave the Indomitable Lions the historic 1–0 win over reigning champions Argentina in the opening match of 1990 World Cup, told Capital Sport poor selection of national team players contributes to bad performance of continental teams at the Mundial.

“We don’t have formidable teams that can compete in World Cup, at this year’s competition, we have five teams representing the continent but only one of them might qualify for the quarterfinals.

“This happens mostly because we have mentality of picking players to compete in African football and select another different side when playing in World Cup,” Biyik, who played alongside Cameroon legend Roger Milla, stressed.

The former League 1 giants Olympique de Marseille forward dismissed Cameroon’s chances of going past Group A, where they are drawn alongside hosts Brazil, Mexico and Croatia.

“Indomitable Lions don’t have strong players that can beat the South America teams and Croatia not even with Samuel Eto’o because he plays different for Cameroon compared to Chelsea.

“It is also not possible for Ghana to reach the semifinals because they are not on the same level with European teams but football is unpredictable if we have them or Nigeria its good, but it’s very difficult.”

The Black Stars of Ghana could have become the first African team to reach World Cup semifinal but were eliminated by Uruguay 4-2 on post-match penalties after the match ended 1-1 in regulation in South Africa four years ago.

Asamoah Gyan, had the chance to send his side to the last four after they were awarded a penalty in added time courtesy of Luis Suarez’s, handball but the former Sunderland striker hit the bar.

Ghana are in the proverbial Group of Death with three-time champions Germany, Portugal and USA while Nigeria are in Pool F together with Argentina, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Iran.

Ivory Coast will take on Colombia, Greece and Japan in Group C as Algeria plays Belgium, Korea Republic and Russia in Group H.

Reflecting on his illustrious football career, Biyik, who has French nationality, added it’s important for a footballer to play at least in one World Cup.

“I have achieved my dream after participating in three World Cups, played at big clubs in France, South America and Europe.

“My most memorable moment is when I helped Cameroon beat Argentina at the Italy 1990 World Cup where I scored the only goal. It was great playing alongside players like Milla.

Commenting on Kenyan football he said, “In order to progress, the country’s association must invest in youth structures and plan for the next two years.”

Biyik landed in Kenya as the head coach of Gabon’s US Bitam, who took on league champions Gor Mahia in the preliminary round of the CAF Champions League at Nyayo National Stadium on Saturday.