JOHANNESBURG - The strain of living up to
the raised expectations of playing on home soil is the reason
most African countries have underperformed at the World Cup,
Ivory Coast striker Salomon Kalou said on Thursday.
Kalou said most African players had put a lot of pressure on
themselves because the World Cup was being hosted on the
continent for the first time.
"Expectations were huge and we owed it to ourselves to
perform well, but the pressure has caused us more stress than
anything else and even inhibited our talents," Kalou told FIFA
"There have been a few players who haven't been up to the
standard required. Their abilities have been crushed by the
pressure they put on their own shoulders," a candid Kalou said.
Of the six African countries participating in the World Cup,
four including host nation South Africa, Cameroon, Nigeria and
Algeria have been knocked out in the first phase.
Ghana just managed to get through to the last 16, while
Ivory Coast, who play their final group match against North
Korea on Thursday, need a miracle to qualify from a group that
includes Brazil and Portugal.
After holding Portugal to a 0-0 draw in their first game,
Ivory Coast lost 3-1 to Brazil.
They now need to thrash North Korea and hope Brazil beat
Portugal to stand any chance of qualifying after the Asians were
walloped 7-0 by the Portuguese.
"When we played Brazil, we defended too deeply and let them
have too much of the ball. You can't get away with that against
a team like Brazil as it's difficult to regain possession," he
"You run after the ball, you start to tire and they
automatically take advantage. Those are the regrets, but that's
also how you learn," Kalou said.
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