Africa's five representatives at this year's World Cup still have a long way to go to avoid outright humiliation
It would be very hot for Africa's flag-bearers at the World Cup finals in Germany in two months, and not only because it would be summer time in Europe. The first quarter of the year provided depressing pictures of how ill prepared Africa's representatives are to make a splash in the Rhine. Much was let out at the 25th Africa Nations Cup in Egypt. For those who were hoping the tournament could not have been the exact measuring tape, the performances of Africa's World Cup representatives in their games during the rash of friendly matches played all over the globe on March 1 confirmed that the events of January and February in north Africa were not far from the true state of things.
Ghana is one team bothered by the attitude of renegade nationals. Kevin-Prince Boateng, who plays for Hertha Berlin is one of two Ghana-eligible players in the Bundesliga who are seeking slots in Germany coach Juergen Klinsmann's final 23.
On March 1, the Black Stars, also heading to their first World Cup, lost 0-1 to Mexico in the USA. Since they play USA, Czech Republic and Italy at the World Cup, the Ghanaian federation arranged the game so the Stars could have a feel of what it would be like to run around with Team USA. Mexico and USA play similar patterns. But the session ended on a morale-shattering note, weeks after Ghana failed to reach the knock-out stages at the Africa Cup of Nations.
In mid-March, former playing legend Abedi Pele said he would appeal to FIFA to upturn the four-match ban handed to midfield powerhouse Laryea Kingston by CAF at Egypt 2006. Kingston, who plays in Russia, was involved in an altercation with Senegalese defender Habib Beye in a group phase tie in Port Said. Both players were banned for four matches, and Kingston would miss all three of Ghana's first round games in Germany if the ban stays. He already missed their last match at the Nations Cup-a 1-2 loss to Zimbabwe.
Team coach Ratomir Dujkovic is uncertain of his fate, as Ghana FA boss Kwesi Nyantekyi made it clear before the match in America that the Serbian is not confirmed for the Germany trip. If Dujkovic is dropped, it would not be unconnected with Ghana's poor run in Egypt, and neighbours Togo would be credited for setting the template.