2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™

11 June - 11 July

2010 FIFA World Cup™

Struggling Africans stand as one

© Getty Images

If there has not been too much for African football fans to sing about in terms of results so far at the 2010 FIFA World Cup™, it is certainly not through a want of support. The six African sides in action do not just have their own followers behind them but every African, with a shared desire among players and supporters alike to see all the host continent's teams fare well.

Between them, the competing African sides have collected just seven points from a possible 36, with Ghana's victory over Serbia still the only success. Goalkeeper Richard Kingson said after the defeat of the Serbs: "This win is very important for us, and for Africa as well." Asamoah Gyan, Ghana's scorer in their two matches to date, hopes the other African teams will follow the Black Stars' lead and underlined the sense of fellow feeling when he told FIFA: "We are praying for the other African countries because it is very, very important for us Africans to make sure that we go further than in the past. That is our ambition, not Ghana, but the whole of Africa."

Côte d'Ivoire midfielder Didier Zokora echoed Gyan's sentiments when he said: "For us as Africans, it's extremely important that we give a good image of the continent. When Ghana beat Serbia, I was so happy because it's not only about Côte d'Ivoire, it's also about the other African countries at the World Cup."

We are praying for the other African countries because it is very, very important for us Africans to make sure that we go further than in the past

And if there is sometimes a feeling that north Africa is different from the rest of the continent, it is certainly not a view shared by Algeria's players who have been equally vociferous in their support. "It's important because Africa has made a huge contribution to the game of football," said Algeria skipper Antar Yahia, who, like many of the Desert Foxes squad, was born in France. "To host this World Cup is a great source of pride for us as Africans, and to be able to represent Algeria on African soil really doubles that feeling of pride."

It goes without saying that South African supporters have thrown their weight behind not just Bafana Bafana but the other African contenders. Ghana's Derek Boateng said this was not a surprise to him or his team-mates. "Africa is Africa and we always support each other. I know that the people are going to support us when we are playing against any other country, so we are very happy that they are hosting the World Cup in Africa."

South Africa's history as the home of the struggle against apartheid has not passed without comment either. Didier Drogba, the Côte d'Ivoire captain and reigning African Footballer of the Year, told FIFA: "It is a great honour for me and for our team. When I was at school we learned a lot about the history of South Africa. We learned about the apartheid and the important role that Nelson Mandela played for the African people. To be here, to have the chance to meet him, to talk to him, brings together what I learned at school and it makes me very proud."

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