Fifa ‘killing African football’ says Ivory Coast coach Patrice Beaumelle
Last updated on4 hours ago4 hours ago.From the sectionSport Africa
Ivory Coast coach Patrice Beaumelle says world governing body Fifa is “killing African football” by only allowing the continent five places at the World Cup.
Beaumelle’s Elephants can no longer reach the 2022 tournament in Qatar after losing 1-0 in Cameroon on Tuesday and finishing second in their group.
Africa’s 54 participants in qualifying are whittled down to just five places at the 32-team tournament, while Europe has 13 guaranteed places from 55 competitors and South America four from 10.
“It is a shame because strong teams like mine will stay at home,” Frenchman Beaumelle said.
“I have been in Africa since 2008 and I have participated in many World Cup qualifiers. I want to speak to Fifa because when you see that we have 54 federations and only five can go to a World Cup it is a disaster.
“I am not criticising other continents. But they (Fifa) are killing African football.
“It is a shame to have big players who are the pride of European championships and now they will not go to a World Cup.”
However, the World Cup will be expanded to 48 teams from 2026, when the tournament will be held in Canada, Mexico and the United States.
Like all the other continental confederations Africa will be given extra places at the expanded tournament.
Africa is expected to have nine guaranteed spots, while an inter-continental play-off tournament will decide the final two places.
Meanwhile, Fifa head of global development Arsene Wenger has proposed holding the World Cup every two years to boost participation.
African sides ‘exhausted’ by qualifying
Ivory Coast competed in three consecutive World Cups from 2006 to 2014, but have now missed out on back-to-back tournaments.
South Africa, qualifiers in 1998 and 2002 and then hosts in 2010, are also set to be missing in Qatar.
Meanwhile, Cameroon and the other nine group winners will now face play-offs next March to decide Africa’s five representatives.
“Cameroon qualified to the play-off, but it is not guaranteed [to go] to the World Cup,” Beaumelle added.
“African teams are exhausted before they arrive at a World Cup because those qualifiers are exhausting us.
“Five countries from 54 is not even 9%. It is a shame. Even if my team had won I would still speak out about this situation.”
Africa is still awaiting its first-ever semi-finalist at the World Cup, after Cameroon (1990), Senegal (2002) and Ghana (2010) were all knocked out in the last eight.
Source: BBC News