Drogba explains why African teams struggle at the FIFA World Cup

Chelsea legend Didier Drogba has revealed why African teams struggle to perform at World Cups.

No African team has ever reached the semi-finals of the competition and that doesn’t appear likely to change at Qatar 2022.

Senegal, who won the Africa Cup of Nations this year, were thought to be capable of breaking the duct this time around, especially with their squad containing top players like Edouard Mendy and Kalidou Koulibaly.

But, after losing their captain Sadio Mane to injury on the eve of the World Cup, those hopes faded, and the Bayern Munich forward’s absence was clear for all to see during their defeat to the Netherlands on Monday.

On a more positive note for the continent, both Tunisia and Morocco were able to hold Denmark and Croatia to a goalless draw, with Cameroon and Ghana yet to play their first matches.

While European and South American sides are usually the favourites at World Cups, it is still a mystery as to why African teams fail to make the grade.

Drogba, the Ivory Coast’s all-time top goal scorer and former captain, played at the 2006, 2010 and 2014 World Cups, but his national team failed to make it beyond the group stage at all three tournaments.

Speaking to the BBC, he said that while it is tough to pinpoint exactly what the problem is, but he did have one theory that may explain the struggles.

‘When you look at the game [Senegal vs the Netherlands], Mane on his own couldn’t have done much better than what we saw,’ the former striker said.

‘It’s very difficult for African teams because you’ve got individualities. They’re very good in their clubs, especially those playing in Europe.

‘But when they come together, it becomes more difficult for the manager to find the right system. To play the right guys at the right position, to keep that intensity that is required when you play at that kind of level.’

While most squads are made up of players plying their trade across many different football clubs, as Drogba suggests, African teams push that to the extreme.

For sample, Tunisia is composed of 26 players, who play in 13 different countries across three continents, compared to Germany’s players who are based in just three countries across Europe.


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