NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 19- The best an African nation has ever done at the FIFA World Cup was getting to the quarter finals.
Back in 2010 when the prestigious global tournament was held in Africa for the first time, Ghana almost made history by progressing to the semis, but the famous Luis Suarez handball coupled with Asamoah Gyan’s penalty miss pricked that dream right in the bosom.
Eight years later, former Nigerian international Daniel ‘The Bull’ Amokachi has exuded huge confidence that an African country will make history and be a finalist at the World Cup in Russia.
“I will not change my prediction. I am a big fan of African football and I am a patriot. We have five teams and I told the world that for the first time, we have teams that can win the World Cup for us. My prediction is that we will have four teams progressing to the second round, three to the quarters, two into semis and one will be in the final,” Amokachi said speaking to Capital Sport before adding;
“….Nigeria will win it for the first time for Africa,” Amokachi, who has played three World Cups with the Super Eagles said.
Africa will be represented by three teams from North Africa; Egypt (who made it for the first time since 1990) Morocco and Tunisia as well as two from West Africa; Nigeria and Tunisia.
Nigeria has been pooled with perennial opponents Argentina in Group D where they will also take on Iceland and Croatia.
Egypt will be in Group A and will take on Uruguay, hosts Russia and Saudi Arabia while Morocco will be in group B taking on Spain, Portugal and Iran. Senegal will take on Poland, Colombia and Japan in Group H.
Amokachi believes that Africa has for long had the ability to do well at the quadrennial tournament, but has been hampered by poor mentality and lack of self belief.
“Most of the time we go to the World Cup with an aim of doing better than the best team last time out. That should never be the case. We should not be talking of quarters or semis. Let us go there with an ambition to win,” Amokachi further stressed.
He added; “The only thing that causes confusion most of the time is the money factor. Hopefully the federations going to the World Cup have sat down and agreed with the players on the allowances and I hope we don’t see such kind of distraction when the World Cup begins.”
On his native Nigeria which he has played for and coached during his illustrious career, Amokachi is confident that the build-up matches before they travel to Russia will do them a world of good with a squad he described as one of the best.
“We have lots of quality players and we trying to make some very good egusi soup out of that team. We haven’t gotten it right but we have the quality in that team. We have played and won against Argentina and we played another friendly match and it is good because now we have seen where we need to work out,” Amokachi further explained.
The ex-Super Eagles man was speaking to Capital Sport on the sidelines of his visit to Football Kenya Federation offices where he presented the bid book for Morocco’s 2026 World Cup hosting ambition to president Nick Mwendwa.