Connect with us

International Football

THE WORLD CUP QUALIFIERS IN NUMBERS

Published

on

335  – thousand is the rough population that makes Iceland easily the smallest nation to reach a World Cup. Trinidad and Tobago, which had a 1.3 million population in 2006, had previously held this distinction.

98 was Saudi Arabia’s position on the FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking when they kicked off their triumphant qualification campaign. Chile were fourth just four months ago, but failed to make the 32-team field.

90 was Switzerland’s win percentage in Group B, yet they only finished as its runners-up. Never had a European team registered a win percentage as high but not qualified directly for the World Cup. Portugal’s 2-0 win in their final outing ended Switzerland’s 27-game unbeaten run in World Cup preliminaries.

41 points is what Brazil managed – the second-highest in a South American qualifying campaign. Juan Sebastian Veron, Ariel Ortega, Hernan Crespo and Gabriel Batistuta helped Argentina reach Korea/Japan 2002 with 43 points. After Tite assumed the reins of the stuttering Seleção, they became the first South American side to win nine successive World Cup preliminaries.

39 was the sensational goal difference Germany managed (43 goals for; four against) to set an all-time record in UEFA qualifying. Joachim Low’s men won all ten of their matches to become the only team from any confederation to reach Russia with a perfect record.

Advertisement

32 years had passed since the Netherlands failed to qualify for back-to-back tournaments until they followed up missing out on UEFA EURO 2016 by finishing third in their Russia 2018 qualification group.

28 years: that is the World Cup absence Egypt will end in Russia. Since last appearing at the global finals in 1990, the Pharaohs have curiously won four CAF Africa Cup of Nations crowns.

21 goals is what makes Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez the joint-leading marksmen in South American qualifying history. At the start of the 2018 preliminaries, Messi and Suarez had 14 and 16 respectively, behind Ivan Zamorano (17), Marcelo Salas (18) and record-holder Hernan Crespo (19).

17 goals is what USA registered in the Hexagonal – more than any other team – yet they finished fifth and missed out on qualifying for an eighth consecutive World Cup.

16 goals, scored in just ten appearances, is what made Poland’s Robert Lewandowski the leading marksman, across all confederations (level with Saudi Arabia’s Mohammed Al Sahlawi and UAE’s Ahmed Khalil), in Russia 2018 qualifying. Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo, who was one goal shy, was Lewandowski’s nearest challenger in Europe. Both broke the previous record tally in a UEFA qualifying campaign held by Yugoslavia’s Predrag Mijatovic (14).

Advertisement

12 consecutive World Cup qualifying clean sheets is what Iran became the first team from any confederation to record. Team Melli’s run eventually ended, after 18 hours and 41 minutes, and when they had already secured a ticket to Russia, in their final outing against Syria.

9 straight World Cups is what Korea Republic will appear in next year – after participating in just one, in 1954, before the run started. Only Brazil (21), Germany (17), Argentina (12) and Spain (11) have made it to more in succession, with Italy hoping to win their play-off and extend their run to 15.

  • Courtesy FIFA

 


Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.

Continue Reading
Advertisement

International Football

New twist in Cameroon football coach crisis

Published

on

BY KUNLE SOLAJA

The coaching crisis in Cameroon’s Indomitable Lions has taken a new dimension as the football federation, FECAFOOT, led by former international, Samuel Eto’o goes in direct confrontation with the coaching crew appointed by the sports ministry which also picks the bills.

  According to a Cameroon official who will not like to be named as he was not authorised to speak on the matter, the claims and counter claims of both the sports ministry and the FECAFOOT led by Eto’o had been heard and decided by the conciliation and arbitration chamber of the Cameroonian national Olympic committee, which is a court in charge of sports cases in Cameroon.

  “What is in contention is not the position of the Belgian coach, Marcc Brys, but that of the Cameroonian assistants attached to him.”

  The source explained to Sports Village Square that although the employment of Brys by the sports ministry was initially contested by Eto’o, the former player has come to accept the situation.

Advertisement

  “In Cameroon, there is always a techenical crew of nine to 11. The foreign coach is allowed to bring in two foreign assistants, while the others are always Cameroonians.

  In this case, the sports ministry approved the list of two foreign assistants by Brys while also announcing another set of local assistants that included former international, François Omam-Biyik, one of the stars of Italia ‘90  and the scorer of the goal that gave Cameroon a 1-0 win over a Diego Maradona-inspired  Argentina.

  “That is where the problem is. FECAFOOT also submitted a list of technical crew that included Brys and his two foreign assistants but dropped the names of the local assistants with new ones.”

  In essence, there are two lists with both having three names as same, but differ on the rest.

 According to the source, the list submitted by the sports ministry was upheld by the tribunal which threw aside that of FECAFOOT.

Advertisement

  In another twist, FIFA has already removed the name of Marc Brys from the profile of Cameroon on its website. Only the name of national women’s coach, Jean-Baptiste Bisseck is listed.

The removal of Brys’ name is happening a second time as it was first removed at the end of last month before being reinstated.

Continue Reading

International Football

Cameroon’s appointment of Brys as manager suspended by sports tribunal

Published

on

Marc Brys

Cameroon’s appointment of Belgian Marc Brys as head coach was suspended by the country’s top sports tribunal on Tuesday following the petition of an amateur football club.

The country’s sports ministry stirred controversy last month when it named 61-year-old Brys as manager of the Indomitable Lions without consulting the football federation (FECAFOOT).

The move sparked a dispute between the sports ministry and FECAFOOT, which said the government had made a unilateral decision.

In response, it asked its president Samuel Eto’o to propose a national coach and other management staff for the national side within 72 hours, deepening its standoff with the sports ministry.

Eto’o kept Brys as head coach but named different assistants, technical, medical and administrative staff.

Advertisement

An amateur club, meanwhile, took the matter to the Arbitration and Conciliation Chamber of the Cameroon National Olympic and Sports Committee.

In a provisional ruling on Tuesday, the court suspended the FECAFOOT appointments while it fully examined the matter. Concerned parties have 24 hours to appeal.

FECAFOOT in response said it “reserves the right to refer these decisions to FIFA, as they hinder the preparation process for the forthcoming sport events.

“The Emergency Committee of FECAFOOT will meet immediately to take appropriate measures,” it said in a statement.

Soccer’s world governing body FIFA has strict rules against government interference in national federations and has frequently banned countries when governments get involved in federation affairs.

Advertisement

The president of the Cameroon Association of Amateur Football Clubs, Balla Ongolo Henri, had previously said Eto’o’s appointments would damage Cameroon’s image and disrupt preparations for the 2026 World Cup qualifiers next June.

Brys, 61, penned a contract on May 8 as head coach of the Indomitable Lions following the dismissal of Rigobert Song in February. FECAFOOT did not attend the signing ceremony.

The sports ministry says it has acted in accordance with national and international regulations.

Reuters

Advertisement
Continue Reading

International Football

Amokachi, Adebayor and Amanda Dlamini confirmed for CAF African Schools Championship Finals

Published

on

African football legends, Emmanuel Adebayor, Daniel Amokachi and Amanda Dlamini are some of the top names that have been confirmed for the Continental Finals of the CAF African Schools Football Championship 2024 scheduled in Zanzibar between 21 – 24 May 2024.

The CAF African Schools Football Championship is the school’s competition that includes over 44 African countries with over 800 000 participants of Boys and Girls under the age of 15.

This is the second edition of the competition that is not only focused on Football but also on a number of programmes including Young Referee’s Programme, Young Reporter Programme and Safeguarding. 

Adebayor, CAF Player of the Year in 2008, represented Togo at the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany for their only appearance at the tournament. Ex-striker for Arsenal, Manchester City, Real Madrid, and others, the Togolese star has had a successful career, earning over 85 caps with Les Eperviers.

Nigerian football star Amokachi played 42 international matches for the Super Eagles. He participated in the 1994 and 1998 FIFA World Cups and was part of the team that won the TotalEnergies CAF Africa Cup of Nations in 1994 and the Olympic Games in 1996.

Advertisement

Former Banyana Banyana (South Africa) captain Dlamini played in two TotalEnergies CAF Women’s Africa Cup of Nations competitions where they finished third and second in 2010 and 2012, respectively. She is one of the few footballers, both in the men’s and women’s national teams to reach 100 caps.

Dlamini recently made history when she became the first female to be part of the world commentary feed at the TotalEnergies CAF Africa Cup of Nations Cote d’Ivoire 2023.

Also on the list are local stars Abdi Kassim Sadalla, former Tanzanian National Team Captain, and Hilda Masanche, Head coach of the Tanzania U17 Women’s National Team.

The Legends will feature in various activities to promote and support football development among African youth.

The finals will bring together talented young players from across the continent, providing them a platform to showcase their skills and passion for the game.

Advertisement

-CAF

Continue Reading

Most Viewed