Some football legends from Southern Africa and Cosafa president have admitted that teams from the region are tactically and technically inferior to their west African counterparts.
Zambia Football Association president Kalusha Bwalya, former Flames midfield maestro Ernest Mtawali and Cosafa president Suketu Patel were reacting to southern African teams’ failure to go past the quarter-finals of the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations.
Bwalya, the only player from southern Africa to have been crowned CAF Footballer of the Year admitted that west African teams have a technical edge because most of their players ply their trade in the top overseas leagues.
“Of course, we (Zambia) might have won the tournament last year, but technically and tactically southern African teams still play second-fiddle to teams from west and north Africa because their players are well exposed as they play in major leagues overseas,” said Bwalya from Johannesburg on Monday.
Mtawali, who played in the top French and Argentina leagues at the peak of his career, shared Bwalya’s sentiments.
“Look, west Africans have players such as Yaya and Kolo Toure, Gervinho, Didier Drogba, Emmanuel Adebayor, Victor Moses and John Mikel Obi. How many did we have from southern Africa? It is probably Manucho (Angola), Bongani Khumalo (South Africa) and Emmanuel Mayuka (Zambia),” said Mtawali.
Bwalya and Mtawali also said proximity puts west Africans at an advantage to play in top leagues overseas.
The Cosafa president admitted that unless players from southern Africa develop a thick skin and break into the top leagues overseas, it will always be a tall order.
Three Cosafa teams; hosts South Africa, Zambia and Angola took part in this Africa Cup of Nations.
South Africa bowed out in the quarter-finals while Zambia and Angola failed to make it past the group stages.
Only two southern African teams have won the African Cup of Nations Cup, South Africa (1996) and Zambia (2012).
Since inception in 1957, the Flames qualified only in 1984 and 2010.
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