music:Salif Keita-Kumba

"Up you mighty race."

Marcus Garvey's quote about the potential of the Black man from the 1930's applies to the African game as well. There is so much talent on the continent and the world is starting to take notice. What is keeping Africa from being on par with the Europe and South America in terms of international success? The lack of financial resources, mismanagment by the various foundations but most importantly experience. Keep in mind, the countries of Africa are not very old when compared to those of Europe and South America.

Still Africans are making their mark on the international scene starrring in Europe and even here in the US, most notably through Liberia's George Weah, the 1995 European and World Player of the Year when he was at AC Milan in Italy. Weah is by no means the end of the list of top African players. Rashidi Yakini of Nigeria led the Super Eagles into the 2nd round of the 1994 World Cup in the US, and has been succeeded by Nwankwo Kanu as Nigeria's goto man. Roger Milla led the Indominatable Lions of Cameroon to the quarterfinals of the 1990 and had mighty England on the ropes before losing. With players like Mustafa Hadjii from Morrocco, Benni McCarthy of South Africa, El Hadji Diouf of Senegal, Samuel Eto'o of Cameroon and Stephen Appiah of Ghana , the game will continue to grow.

Roger Milla put Cameroon
and African football
on the map

The 1995 World Player of the Year,
George Weah of Liberia


North African nations such as Egypt were the the first African sides to qualify for the World Cup and the runs by Cameroon and Nigeria in the 90 and 94 World Cups gave the Sub-Saharan nations hope. But it is on the youth and Olympic Level where Africa has made its mark. After not medalling in soccer for all of its existence, Nigeria and Cameroon brought back to back gold medals to the Motherland in 1996 and 2000. Ghana has always been a top performer on the World Youth stage. As these players gain more and more international experience success on the Senior Level will surely come soon.

Nwankwo Kanu led the 1996 Nigerian Olympic Team
to the Gold Medal beating star studded teams from
Brazil and Argentina along the way.

Ghana's Samuel Kuffor, here heading the ball
in a game against Volksburg, started
on the backline of storied German club
Bayern Munich for several seasons (AP)


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