Stephen Constantine is the head coach of the Sudan national team. In his regular column for Goal.com, he will be sharing his thoughts about African and world football...I am a great lover of African football and although there are many, many problems, teams and the people running African football are starting to get things right.
I recently saw an interview with the president of the Ghanaian FA who said that the criteria they look for in hiring the coach among his qualifications is the fact that the coach can take and deal with the hardships that are so often associated with African football.
It was refreshing to hear that Ghana did not consider some other bigger names for the position who had not coached under such circumstances and have so far proved that it is not the big names that are going to do it for you.
The fact that we had four teams make to the last world cup for the first time is yet more evidence that teams are being more professional in terms of development, coach education and of course their approach to the game itself.
Ghana Pointing The Way Forward
Politics have always been blight on African football and while it still raises its ugly head now and again, the politicians are also realising that by assisting the associations and not trying to dictate to them will benefit football and every party.
There are still many countries who have yet to understand that you need to develop the youth sides and produce players rather then find them by accident and those teams will continue to struggle without a youth policy.
Look at the sides who have qualified in the past three or four World Cups all of those teams have that one thing in common they produce players - at club and national team level.
There are no secrets in football you just need to get things right and any Association or club needs to invest in the young players if there going to aspire to making any impact.
Results over the weekend went the way of Ivory Coast who with a draw against my old team Malawi went through to the finals in South Africa.
Another World Cup For The Coast
For my team Sudan, even the slim hope of making it to Angola and the Cup of African Nations are over. We went down 1-0 in Bamako and while Mali deserved the win after applying the pressure from the start, conceding the goal in the 90th minute was tough to take.
At the time we had ten men after the captain was very harshly treated with a second yellow and while we had a player who was stamped in the face having four stitches in nasty cut below the eye….no card was shown!!
The lads did tremendously and for me deserved the point. Of course that was never going to be good enough as we really needed to win to stand any chance, and Benin winning against Ghana was another surprise.
In other groups Nigeria will try and win their game and pray that Mozambique can beat Tunisia. Algeria are almost there and have a massive game against Egypt to decide who will make it through.
You can read more about Stephen by visiting his website