Africa: The football continent of the future

African football talents

The last two decades and especially the last decade was the big football 'elation' in the continent of Africa. Footballers from African countries with rich talents, moved to European clubs and stood with their skills in world football. Most of them came from West African countries.

Western Africa was the strongest one, with the presence of Nigeria and Cameroon, which 'produced' particularly strong players at the 90s. The progress continued from Senegal, while in recent years Ivory Coast and Ghana have provided some of the top football players in the world. It is no coincidence that at the latest African Nations Cup, the four countries found in semifinals (Nigeria, Burkina Faso, Mali and Ghana), come from West Africa.

Arsene Wenger, as a specialist who discovers talented players, has noted the existence of quality players from these countries. The coach of Arsenal gives special importance to players from West Africa, having emphasized in many interviews that in the future, the best players will come from there.

The question is: Why players from countries such as Côte d'Ivoire, Nigeria or Ghana, produce great football talents, while in other parts of the African continent, this is not possible yet.

Sociologists of sports and anthropologists are giving a possible answer: The body composition of football players from West African countries, helps them a lot in a sport like football, that requires speed and strength. From the other side, at the east and south of the continent, people are renowned for their endurance, so they have success in other sports like athletics and running large distances.

Samuel Eto'o
Samuel Eto'o: One of the top names of world football, from Cameroon.

More and more European clubs are searching for great players in West Africa. The existing academies in countries like Nigeria, Ghana, Senegal and Côte d'Ivoire, are co-operating with a lot of teams and continuously provide players to clubs in England, France and Belgium. The choice of the country is not accidental, since these countries, apart from the fact that always give great emphasis in new talents, are destinations that young African players can easily adjust, because of the common language,the social environment and the presence of the African element.

European clubs seem to trust on the future of African football and their interest starts to expand further to the south or east, in countries like Namibia, Tanzania, Botswana and Zambia, where the production of talents is still too far behind, compared to what happens in West Africa. It's no coincidence that Barcelona recently announced that will send football coaches from their academy at the above countries to help them develop their football profile.

Major European teams, such as Barcelona, maintain the impression that talented players in Africa can be improved so much to lead an African country to win a World Cup in the future. For now, many of us may be surprised for such a possibility, but the football industry seems to consider it quite possible...

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