Senegal had seemed to have reignited the African hope for World Cup success, but it has all come to nothing after they were beaten 1-0 by Colombia in their last group match. Colombia topped the group, while Japan progressed ahead of Senegal on the basis of yellow cards received.
The West African team had given Colombia some hard times early in the game, but with the second half, Colombia now had things in their favour. Senegal were pretty much wasteful with their chances, something that has affected African teams at this year's World Cup. Senegal's loss now means that all five African teams are out - Egypt, Morocco, Nigeria, Tunisia and Senegal.
For a long time in the game, it had seemed as if Senegal would easily go through as the group winners of Group H, which was not to be. Colombia defender Yerry Mina delivered a powerful header that found its way into the net, with just over 15 minutes of normal time left. This is the first time that an African team has failed to make it past the group stages since 1982.
Senegal's six yellow cards in the tournament have cost them a knockout stages place, and have caused despair for the majority of Africans. Since all African teams are now out, the question that would be imperative to ask is whether the FIFA World Cup is systematically designed to exclude Africans, or whether something is inherently wrong with our football.
The better view will be how wrong our football is. Right from the grassroots levels up to the federations/associations themselves, things are not in order and there is no enough motivation, and also preparation for success at a global stage. Payment structures are always in disarray, at times payment of salaries and other match allowances is delayed to players. The game at the grassroots level is under-resourced and again, the motivation factor goes away from the picture.
More importantly, it would seem as if African teams are quite complacent. They do not push hard enough to make the cut for global success. The question would still be the same, what is causing this complacency? African teams have been pretty much squanderous with their chances, and this has adversely thrust the continent in a negative light.
As Africans are left to cater for their despair and anguish, important questions should be asked, and answers provided, so that the game on the continent moves forward for the better, and that the chances of the continent's success are increased.
Header image credit: BBC Africa