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England coach Roy Hodgson has said that he expects African teams to do well at the World Cup 2014. African football has shown a tremendous increase in quality over the last decade and it is time to take the African teams seriously at a major tournament according to Hodgson. The likes of Ivory Coast and Nigeria have been regarded as some of the strongest teams from Africa. They are expected to qualify for the World Cup quite comfortably despite having to be involved in a play-off.
A total of five African teams will be present at the World Cup 2014. England could possibly play against one of them after having qualified for the tournament themselves. They have done so automatically after managing to win their group. The pressure on Hodgson has been lifted a little in recent weeks after his team has been performing in a brilliant way especially due to the form of players like Wayne Rooney. England will be taking on Germany in a friendly match just a few days after their defeat against Chile.
Hodgson will also be at Craven cottage in order to watch Nigeria take on Italy in a friendly match. He was speaking ahead of the match. Nigeria recently won the African cup of nations to end a long trophy drought.
“And there are many excellent African players out there now. They play in the top European leagues and that makes the African nations very strong. Nigeria have traditionally been one of the strongest, with some famous names in their team. Whoever is at the game on Monday night will see two very good teams and it will be an exciting outcome. Who knows, we may even see a little pointer for how things will go in Brazil,” said the former Liverpool and West Brom manager.
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The Cameroon squad has been announced for the first leg of their World Cup qualifying play off tie against Tunisia and to the surprise of everybody, Samuel Eto’o is in that squad.
The inclusion of Eto’o is surprising because he was reported to have quit international football last month.
According to the reports, after Cameroon’s match against Libya, Eto’o had clearly told his teammates that he would not play for Cameroon again.
When the head coach of Cameroon, Volker Finke, was asked about that, he had said that he didn’t have any idea and this question should be asked to Eto’o only.
Now, Finke has given Eto’o an invitation to return back by naming him in the squad. It will be interesting to see if the 32 years old striker accepts that invitation or not.
Not only Finke, several other people also want Eto’o to come back. The officials of Federation Camerounaise de Football have already talked to Eto’o and have requested him to think about his decision again. The same request has come from the Players Union as well.
The play off tie against Tunisia is very important for Cameroon. The team which wins this tie will make it to the World Cup finals.
The Federation officials want Eto’o to at least guide the team to the finals before hanging his boots.
The first leg of the tie which will be played in Tunisia will take place on 11th of next month and a few days after that on 15th; the return leg will be organized in Cameroon.
Eto’o is one of the best players produced by Cameroon ever. He has featured for his national side in 112 games and has found the back of the net on 55 occasions.
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Former South African player Quinton Fortune is one of the several African players to have made it big in world football. He played for Manchester United during his career. He has recently been speaking about the state of African football when compared with the likes of Brazilian and European. Even though he acknowledges that the African football has made incredible strides in the last few years, it still remains a long way from matching the European counterparts. Fortune has admitted that financial backing is one of the primary reasons behind Europe being a top destination for football.
He has said that this has had a cycle effect on African football because the best players from Africa are starting to leave for European football in order to test them against the best in the world. However, he is hoping that one day players from Africa decide to stay in the continent and improve their respective leagues. The 36-year-old Fortune has played for the likes of Manchester United, Bolton Wanderers, and Atletico Madrid during his stellar career. He also made his presence felt at the international level as well. He made 46 appearances for the national team, and it included appearances at the World Cup in 1998 and 2002.
“The game of football is growing in Africa but for the best players to play in Africa. It takes financial backing, it takes lifestyle. I mean, a lot of things need to change, but for the moment our players need to go to Europe to become the best, to compete against the best players. That‘s the key at the moment but I hope that one day in future best players from other parts of the world come to play in Africa; to make our leagues better,” said the 36-year-old midfielder at a Manchester United event in South Africa.
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