FIFA World Cup: ‘Exploited’ Africa is proving worthy of more World Cup spots, says Ghana coach

The strong performance of African sides at the World Cup so far shows the need for a more inclusive competition with more places for the continent, Ghana’s coach said on Thursday, with four African sides still playing in Qatar.

Of Africa’s five qualifiers for the 2022 tournament, Senegal and Morocco have reached the last 16, Ghana can progress with a win against Uruguay in their final group game, while Cameroon still have a chance if they beat already-qualified Brazil, who are expected to it rests top players.

Only Tunisia have been eliminated so far, beating France 1-0 on Wednesday.

Before Morocco beat Canada 2-1 to top Group F on Thursday, Ghana’s Otto Addo praised Senegal, the first African side to advance.

“I am very happy that our African brothers are qualifying,” Addo said at a press conference.

“It’s certainly an inspiration. First of all, I’m happy for Senegal, it’s very, very important.

“As you all know, Africa is, yes, it is an exploited continent. A lot of things have gone wrong in history and worked against us.”

“We’re trying to do that for the people, we’re doing for Ghana, we’re doing for Africa. And I hope everyone understands that we have to give more than we have and everything we have because sometimes it’s their last hope for people back home,” Addo said.

At the last five World Cups, Africa’s best performance came in 2014, when Nigeria and Algeria finished in the last 16.

In the 2002, 2006 and 2010 tournaments, only one African team reached the knockout stages, while in 2018 all five African qualifiers were eliminated in the group stage.

Ghana have the best record of any African team, reaching the knockout rounds in two of their last three World Cups and being one of the only three African countries to reach the quarter-finals.

Addo said the five World Cup qualifying spots for a continent where 55 nations are involved in qualifying is lopsided compared to Europe, where the same number of countries are battling for 13 spots.

“It’s very difficult for us, the probability that we’ll go through is less than other nations like in Europe, they have 13 starting places. And so the probability is much, much higher.”

Ghana’s Thomas Partey, who plays club football for Arsenal in England, said there was a lack of good African players at the World Cup due to limited places.

“I’m not surprised,” he said of the African teams’ performance.

“We know most African countries are working harder. We have a lot of good players… not all of them qualify.”

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