Kuffour: African teams don’t have enough to make World Cup semis

The former Bayern Munich defender gives his assessment of the continent’s five representatives

Former Ghana international Samuel Osei Kuffour says African teams can only go as far as the quarter-finals at the World Cup in Russia.

The continent is hoping to make the last four for the first time ever, having failed in as many previous attempts.

Nigeria, Senegal, Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia will carry Africa’s hopes at the tournament, which opens on Thursday.

“The quarterfinals will be a good level to reach because frankly I don’t think there is enough in the teams heading to Russia from Africa to hope for a semi-final place,” Kuffour, who helped Ghana reach the round of 16 at Germany 2006, told KweseESPN.

“I like Senegal, but I worry if they can hold on when they face teams like Germany, Spain, Brazil and Argentina. Can they be tactically disciplined enough against those sides to win? It is a big issue. For me, the problem has been a lack of tactical discipline at a certain level.

“In 2006, there was no reason why Ivory Coast, with the players and team they had, should not make it out of the group.

“Ivory Coast had very good players again in 2010, but they couldn’t do much with it because it comes down to more than just talent, and that is where the continent has

been lacking.”

Africa’s best position since debuting in 1934 has been quarterfinal berths achieved by Cameroon, Senegal and Ghana in 1990, 2002 and 2010 respectively.

At this year’s event, Egypt – the first African country to play at the World Cup – will play in Group A, alongside hosts Russia, Uruguay and Saudi Arabia.

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Morocco find themselves in Group B, which also contains Portugal, Spain and Iran.

Nigeria are set to come up against Argentina in the group stage for the fifth time as both sides made Group D. Iceland and Croatia are the other teams of the group.

Tunisia have England, Belgium and Panama to battle against in Group G, while Senegal, who return to the global gathering for the first time since debuting in 2002, will square off against Poland, Colombia and Japan in Group H.

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