Africans can shine in World Cup

The following is the first of many 2010 World Cup pieces written by former Jamaica national football team head coach John Barnes at the behest of Digicel for the Caymanian Compass.

This is the first World Cup
to be held on the continent of Africa and I think the African teams such as
Ivory Coast, host-nation South Africa, and Ghana have a very good chance to
shine. Ultimately the Ivory Coast is probably the strongest of the African
nations with a number of English Premier League players at its disposal such as
Drogba and Kalou – who both play for Premier League champions Chelsea – Kolo
Toure, who plays for Man. City and his brother, Yaya Toure, who plays for
Barcelona. Although the team is in an extremely difficult group – which many
have called “the group of death” with Portugal, Brazil and North Korea I’d
expect the Ivory Coast to do well provided the team make it through to the next
round.

However, I expect the main
contenders for the World Cup to be Spain and Brazil. Spain is the current
European Champions and has world class players throughout their ranks such as
Torres, Villa, Xavi, Iniesta, Fabregas and goal keeper Casillas.

Brazil is the COPA America
and Confederation Cup holders and their coach, Carlos Dunga, has the squad
playing in a consistent, structured manner. This systematic approach combined
with the usual Brazilian flair make them extremely dangerous. Their team
includes star attacking players such as Kaka, Luis Fabiano, and Robinho as well
as having a solid defense with three players from Inter Milan – who won the
UEFA Champions League – including goal keeper Julio Cesar, Maicon and Lucio.

Outside of those two, I
believe England has a good chance. The team is in a relatively easy group and
should qualify for the second round and progress from there depending on the
draw. Once a team can get to the quarter finals, it is possible to develop a
good chemistry and get on a roll. Ultimately however, I would say Brazil is my
favourite to win the 2010 trophy, which would be their sixth title.

For Cayman residents a team
to watch is Central American side Honduras, who are in their first World cup
since 1982. Spurs player Palacios and Figueroa, who plays with Wigan Athletic,
are two of the team’s stars. Honduras also qualified ahead of Mexico which
demonstrates how capable they are. 

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