2022 World Cup: Ex-Barcelona and Chelsea’s Belletti assesses Africa’s chances in Qatar

President Uhuru Kenyatta 2022.State House Kenya.

Former Brazil and Barcelona defender Juliano Belletti has assessed the possibility of African teams mounting a serious challenge at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

Belletti is in Kenya accompanying the Fifa World Cup trophy and believes the continent has the potential to be global competitors but adds that this will take time.

"To be honest, it’s not an easy thing, but Africa has potential," Belletti told Standard Sports. "One day it will be possible.

"I think the African teams can be something different in the next World Cup and the others because they are getting better after every competition.

"That’s the reason I’m here with the trophy to tell Kenya and the rest of the continent that there is hope in this game."

Morocco, Tunisia, Cameroon, Senegal, and Ghana carry Africa’s hopes and dreams in the next World Cup finals at the end of the year.

The former Chelsea star also revealed that winning the 2002 World Cup - after beating Germany 2-0 – which was co-hosted by Japan and South Korea, was his best moment.

"It was sensational, it was a most special moment for me, I felt on top of the world," the Uefa Champions League winner recalled.

"When I see the world cup trophy, I vividly see our crunch tie against Turkey in the semis, it was an emotional and epic match that we managed to win 1-0.

"We then proceeded to the final and the script was almost somehow the same against Germany in the first half before we managed to sail through with two goals in the second half that earned us the trophy."

The 45-year-old also shared his message of motivation and secrets for success with the Kenyan players.

"If I managed to transition from goalkeeping to playing and scoring goals inside the pitch, then that is enough motivation to tell Kenyans and the players that all is possible under the sun," the Brazilian continued.

"Football is about joy, and this can be achieved with great teamwork, determination, discipline, firm belief, and constant practices."

Although Kenya is on Fifa’s suspension list, Belletti insists there is still hope for the East African nation as well.

"I’m here with the trophy to tell the Kenyan players that there is hope for tomorrow," the scorer for the 2006 Champions League-winning goal for Barcelona against Arsenal, continued.

"This trophy is meant to inspire and motivate Kenyans during this suspension period, to tell them that they can qualify for the World Cup in the future.

"Football is very inspiring. The significance of this cup is to make the Kenyan people happy despite the ongoing suspension and bring them closer to this year’s World Cup that will be held in Qatar."