The Kingdom of Morocco yesterday lost its bid to be the second African country to host the 2026 Football World Cup. A troika of Canada, Mexico and the US won day and will jointly host the event.
The World Cup is a prestigious event and financially fruitful for both hosts and FIFA. The hospitality industry takes the largest piece of the pie but the country gets the ultimate public relations stage.
Today, Russia will kick off another edition of the 88-year old competition and Africa will have five representatives in the 32-team tournament.
Africa is without doubt a football-mad continent but its fervor and craziness for the game has not translated into World Cup glory and it does not need a rocket scientist to deduce the reasons why.
African football is totally disorganized unlike its peers in the West and the American continent. Which other continent has produced national teams that threaten to boycott games because they have not received their bonuses?
Infrastructure is quasi non-existent and most successful African footballers learned their trade in European football academies. African football administrators need to know that growing the game is a process and does not rely on a magic wand of foreign based players and coaches. .
In all the seven times Cameroon has taken part in the tournament, it has relied on foreign coaches; four Frenchmen, two Germans and a Russian. In fact, in all the 44 occasion African countries have participated in the tournament, they have had 30 foreign coaches.
The current Moroccan squad has 17 foreign-born members and that is not by choice but by circumstances. Africa has not invested enough in football infrastructure and that is what has haunted it in all World Cups.
But most importantly, it needs to put its house in order.