Monday, October 28, 2013

Blatter got it right; Africa deserves more World Cup slots

Fifa president, Sepp Blatter
No matter the intention as being speculated in some western media, I think Fifa president Joseph Blatter got it right.  "From a purely sporting perspective, I would like to see globalization finally taken seriously, and the African and Asian national associations accorded the status they deserve at the FIFA World Cup," Blatter wrote in an article in a Fifa magazine.
Africa, the confederation with the most member associations (54), is woefully under-represented at the World Cup with just five places...This flawed state of affairs must be rectified
"It cannot be that the European and South American confederations lay claim to the majority of the berths at the World Cup (18 or 19 teams), because taken together they account for significantly fewer member associations (63) than Africa and Asia (100)."
"Africa, the confederation with the most member associations (54), is woefully under-represented at the World Cup with just five places. As long as this remains the case, African sides may never win an intercontinental trophy, regardless of progress on the playing side," he said.
"This flawed state of affairs must be rectified. At the end of the day, an equal chance for all is the paramount imperative of elite sport."
Well said, Mr Fifa president!.  Some western media are speculating that the Fifa president made the comment to win the votes of African federations in the next Fifa elections.  That matters less to me and many football lovers across Africa.  Blatter has delivered in on his vow to democratize the hosting rights for the World Cup.  It was under his tenure that Asia and Africa hosted the games for the first time in 2002 and 2010 respectively.  It is under his term that the Middle East and Eastern Europe (Qatar and Russia) got the hosting right for the first time.  I think these changes are good for the game and truly makes the World Cup live up to its name as a global sports fiesta.
Now is the time for the Confederation of African Football (CAF) to push for better representation of the continent at the tournament.  If it takes putting Blatter for another term to achieve better reform for Fifa, CAF please vote him in.  Soccer is the sporting passion of most African youth and they deserve to see more of their own at the world's most prestigious sports event.  I'm excited Ghana, Nigeria and Ivory Coast are looking good to go judging from the results of the first leg of the last round of qualifiers.  Three more slots for Africa is reasonable.

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