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A tale of two confederations

The 2010 South Africa World Cup been an exhibition of skill and footballing prowess. European sides have been garnering most the attention because of the disappointing play of power teams like Italy, Spain, and England, along with internal destruction of France and the surprise contention of Serbia, Slovenia, and Greece.

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However, this World Cup is really (to borrow a title from a Charles Dickens' novel) A Tale Of Two Confederations. CONMEBOL and CAF, South America and Africa. The first World Cup on African soil was to be a showcase of African football and the sentimental feeling was to see all 6 African teams advance to the Round of 16. Instead 4 of the 6 teams are in last place in their groups and only Ghana has a solid chance of advancing out of their group.

It has been disappointing for Confédération Africaine de Football who helped put together a memorable World Cup but whose representative member nations have failed to produce on the pitch. Why? African teams have to start playing their unique African style of athletic, physical, attacking football and the only way that can happen is to have African coaches not overly influenced by non-African tactics and style.

The only African team with an African coach is Algeria. 5 African teams with non-African coaches that don't know the style and flavor of African football and life. In contrast, only 2 non-African teams in the WC have coaches from a different continent, Honduras has a Colombian coach and Australia has a Dutch coach.  Whatever the case, African football needs some kind of change in order for their national teams to move to a higher level and challenge for a World Cup title.

The other end of the spectrum is the play of South American teams, the CONMEBOL WC qualifying is the most difficult of all the World Cup qualifying confederations and it is evident by the fact that all 5 South American teams lead their groups and barring some freak results, all 5 will advance to the Round of 16.   The reason is simple, there are only 10 teams in CONMEBOL and every game is a battle.

Its much tougher to get 3 points from Bolivia and Venezuela than it is to get from El Salvador, Panama, Faroe Islands, Uzbekistan, Moldavia, Malta, and Moldavia.  Its like professional league expansion, the competition is tougher with 10 teams than it is 32.  The talent pool is more watered down with more teams.  Honestly, how can any team seriously think they are WC title contenders with 4-0 victories against Luxembourg, Lichetenstein, and Andorra.

The South American teams have the best talent on the planet and the competition of  the CONMEBOL WC qualifiers is tougher than the actual World Cup.  No other confederation's WC qualifying competition prepares a team better for the World Cup than South America's. 

So far, its been a Tale Of Two Confederations as the 2010 South African World Cup has seen the power of the South American teams and a disappointing display from African teams.

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