Constantine's African Corner: Ghana Lead The Way - Can South Africa Follow?

Stephen Constantine is the head coach of the Sudan national team. In his regular column for, he will be sharing his thoughts about African and world football...
I must start this week’s column with congratulations to the Under-20 Ghana team who have just won the U20 World Cup.

It is fitting that they did so against arguably one of the best youth sides in the world - Brazil, fitting also that this follows on the heels of Ghana’s senior side being the first team to qualify from Africa for the World Cup proper.

Ghana U-20 Stars Defeat Brazil

It really shows that the coaches, the FA and all connected with Ghanaian football are reaping the rewards for their hard work over the last 12-15 years as this type of success does not come easy or without great sacrifice.

The big question of course is can the senior side emulate the youngsters? And why is that in the past other African sides have won this competition and the U17 competition yet have failed to make any real impact at senior level?

I think this World Cup is really going to be a very important one for African football and its credibility in World football especially when you consider that three world cups are being staged on the continent and people will all be looking to see how the teams fare. So far so good ! 

The news that South Africa have decided to part with their coach Joel Santana can’t be good for the South Africans  with eight months to go before the World Cup kicks off.

And when you consider they failed to make the African Nations Cup in Angola alarm bells have to be ringing. Who is going to come in and replace Santana at this very late stage?

For me there can only be one man who knows the scene and probably would have still been there had there not been a family illness and that is none other than Carlos Alberto Parreira.

The Answer For South Africa?

He knows the players and how it works within the FA and of course his work had began to show signs of improvement before his departure, going any other way I feel will be a huge mistake.

You then have to give the new coach time to understand the mentality, the players and of course he will want to bring in his own philosophy, system and all this with eight months to go.

I really feel that if Carlos Alberto Parreira is willing and able he is the man that South Africa need.

Whoever takes this job is facing a difficult task as no matter what the situation is, Africans in general have this huge expectancy that their team will win any game they play! Such optimism is great but only if the work has been done before hand.

The youth development needs to be there, coach education needs to be there but sadly for African football, not all teams are working to insure that those all important foundations are in place.

It is no accident that Nigeria, Egypt, Ghana, Cameroon, Tunisia, Angola, Cote D’Ivoire to name a few have appeared at World Cups and are consistently appearing at the African Nations Cup and sending players abroad.

Whoever South Africa go with I am sure will be a high profile name and he is going to need all his experience and a lot more if they are going to make an impact at the World Cup...I wish them all the best.

You can read more about Stephen by visiting his website...