JOHANNESBURG - African teams have made
progress dealing with financial and tactical demons that had
always plagued them during major tournaments but need work on
their mental stamina to triumph finally on the world stage,
former Ghana defender Anthony Baffoe said on Saturday.
Baffoe, who earned 16 caps for Ghana in the 1990s, said
though the six teams that represented the continent at the World
Cup had a poor showing, they had come a long way from the days
when indiscipline and quarrels over pay reigned.
"African teams are moving ahead, both in administration and
organisation. If you remember not long ago, there always were
fights about bonuses, but this time you did not hear anything
about that," Baffoe told journalists.
"We have a lot of talents. I believe what we still have to
work on is psychologically and mentally to be ready. We have
shown that we are disciplined and also tactically, we are
organised. We are coming closer," he said.
However, Baffoe bemoaned the lack of determination shown by
Africa's football power houses during the early round of the
Nigeria, Cameroon, Algeria, Ivory Coast and host nation
South Africa were all eliminated in the first round of the
competition hosted for the first time on African soil, with only
Ghana making it through to the quarter-finals stage.
"I was disappointed with Nigeria to be honest. Ivory Coast
had a very tough group, but they should have won the match
against Portugal," he added.
Baffoe praised the exploits of Ghana who came very close to
making tournament history by being the first team from the
continent to qualify for the semi-finals round of the World Cup.
Ghana, however, fell 4-2 on penalties after a dramatic game
that saw them coming within a kick of winning but for a missed
penalty by striker Asamoah Gyan in the dying seconds of
"It was a drama, it was like a movie. I was very sad. We had
it in our own hands to win the match and go to the semi-finals,"
"Football can be cruel and yesterday, it was for Ghana," he
Baffoe had consoling words for Asamoah, urging him to forget
the missed penalty saying despite the defeat, the team would be
celebrated as heroes.
"I missed the final penalty in Senegal in 1992," Baffoe said
of a decisive penalty he missed during the final of the African
Cup of Nations, a miss that handed the trophy to Ivory Coast.
"The greatest thing is that when I came back home, people
carried me. That showed that they were satisfied with our
performance, same as Asamoah Gyan will be," he said.
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