Like all things African, we have come to witness the deterioration of African football. This is very painful as most of the big clubs in the world rely solely on African stars for their genius, skill, power, and brilliance. However when it’s time for the major tournaments like the 2014 world cup in Brazil, what we see are lacklustre, disorganised, disheartened, and almost disoriented performances.
Unlike other things African, most of these African football stars are millionaires; being paid in thousands of pounds/Euros per week. Therefore, there is actually very little they are getting by sweating blood for their nations. They drive the latest cars; date the most beautiful models, etc. They are rich and well fed looking for nothing more. Some of them even come with team doctors, hair stylists, chefs, etc. After all even the small allowances that is promised them is usually stolen by the FA officials of their countries.
Therefore, they do not play for glory or fame (perhaps infamy!?) from their compatriots because it comes from the crowds in old Trafford, Stamford Bridge, etc. These crowds matter in their lives because they buy the match day tickets, the club jerseys with their names and all manner of merchandise from the club stores. In retrospect, their fellow citizens only flock the video halls in their areas to pay paltry sums as low as $0.5 to watch games on TV. If they do not buy the fake Chelsea, Man U jerseys from china, they get the outdated used ones of seasons past. That is why they do not bother with their performance at home.
However if you take a look at teams like Egypt, which have mostly home based players, they do very well precisely because their glory/fame is at home. They will walk on the streets of Cairo, Alexandria and get praised for their valour and brilliance. That is why they are gunning for their 3rd African title!
These players are also wont to lie about their ages. For a long time we have heard of Eto’o, Drogba, etc but they are still playing football and are in their 30s. Granted, they play well in Europe with these deflated ages but they are playing with Messi, Hazard, etc who have the finesse and talents that make the Africans look infallible. In an African tourney, however these “youngsters” have to play together on the same team and it shows as they can hardly chase the ball. The Nigerian under-17 team was tested for their ages for the world cup and 24 players on the team were over 17 years!
We cannot over-look the star crazed tabloids of Europe, which can create a star out of one so lacking in talent and skills. Most of this Europeanization of African football is because of the properly choreographed images of the TV / Newspaper / Tabloids that stars like Essien, Drogba, etc are made into cult figures; all they need to do is show up!
What we need to focus on is the grooming of local talent through professional, unbiased administration of soccer structures in our African countries. Instead of always inviting the stars who do not have the commitment, developing young talents and giving them the opportunity to play will go a long way in putting some sense into these millionaire no- good refugees. However, as is always the case, all things African will come to naught.