When speaking about African football, many people like to point out the fact that no African nation has won the World Cup, much less even made it past the quarterfinals of the glorious competition. However, the history of Africa at the FIFA World Cup is still an important one, and here are five moments that will go down in history and continue to be remembered for years to come:
1. South Africa hosts the World Cup- who could ever forget the 2010 edition of the World Cup. It was the first time it was ever staged on the African continent, and it did not let fans down. The very first goal of the tournament will also go down in folklore all over the world. Siphiwe Tshabala has been scarcely heard from since, but his thunderbolt is still being talked about all over the world. Also, who can forget the sound of those wondrous Vuvuzelas?
2. Roger Milla- everything about the brilliant Cameroonian is brilliant, but it was his moment in the sun in the 1990 World Cup that has encapsulated the memories of the world. His goal was one thing, but the celebration was the icing on the top of the cake. That celebration alone will be the thing remembered for decades, so much so that it’s been in countless FIFA video games in the past. His goal by the way, scored when he was 38 years old, took his team to the quarterfinals past a very good Colombia side.
3. Senegal help push France over the edge- France endured a horrific 2002 World Cup. That was largely due to the fact that Senegal caused that to happen. In their first ever World Cup appearance in the edition co-hosted by South Korea and Japan, the African side shocked the world to win 1-0 thanks to a goal from Papy Bouba Diop. Senegal had thrown shade on their former colonizers and helped dump them out of the competition.
4. Asamoah Gyan- another moment that has to go down on this list belongs to events that occurred in the 2010 World Cup. While it didn’t end well for Asamoah Gyan, or his Ghana, side they will always be remembered for one of the greatest finishes ever. Late in to their quarterfinal match with Uruguay, Ghana found themselves level 1-1. They needed a goal and it looked to be a sure-thing until Luis Suarez stuck his hand out and was subsequently red carded. Gyan stepped up and missed his spot kick sending the match to extra time. It’d eventually go to penalties where he made his penalty, but it was not enough to send them through and give Africa a first-ever semi-finalist.
5. Morocco bring Africa back into the world of football- after Egypt’s inclusion in the second edition of the Cup in 1934, no African side had been involved in some time until Morocco participated in the 1970 edition. The northern African side crashed out early, but they laid down a marker for further teams to be included. Without them, we may not have been speaking about all of these other moments today!