As the clock ticks to tonight’s 2014 Fifa World Cup final, there are winners, losers, biters and palookas.
Prior to the World Cup, Algeria toppled Cote d’Ivoire as Africa’s number one on the Fifa rankings for May. I had issues with the calculator which the world football governing body president Sepp Blatter uses.
But let me eat a humble pie and admit that Algeria are indeed Africa kings: They are organised, fearless, hard-working and disciplined on and off the pitch.
Algeria’s showing was like day and night when compared to that of Cote d’Ivoire, Nigeria, Ghana and Cameroon who successfully embarrassed Africa with kindergarten squabbles.
Lesson one: In football you need skill, but to succeed, discipline is the deal.
That is why Clement Kafwafwa played in Europe while the pampered local stars crash-landed in South Africa.
Germany’s 7-1 demolition of Brazil offers one bold lesson: Never force a German into a samba dance; they hijack the dance floor and strip you naked in front of your mother-in-laws.
In respect of Brazil’s massacre and Spain’s flop, their respective coaches Luiz Filipe Scolari and Vicente del Bosque shoulder the blame for placing trust, and not form, as the overriding squad selection factor.
Modern football is about gambling, tinkering and altering tactics. Scolari is the only Brazilian who sees something extraordinary in ordinary Fred. Brazil and Spain’s exits were not about shortage of talent.
Of course, the jury was on Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. Today, statistics read: four goals and two assists in six games for Messi and one goal in three games for Ronaldo.
I, personally, do not think the two players need the World Cup to prove anything.
Of course, the World Cup produced coaching master-strokes; Germany’s Joachim Loew presenting a three-faced side that looked promising, vulnerable then ruthless.
Then Alejandro Sabella fine-tuned Argentina from a sloppy side that rode on Messi’s back into a conservative side with Messi transformed into a deep-lying conductor.
But none can beat the Netherland’s Louis van Gaal’s substitution of goalkeeper Jasper Cillessen for Tim Krul in post-match penalty winning act.
Finally, the Dental Formula Victim Award goes to Luis Suarez. Don’t blame him, but his teeth.