LONDON. Head coaches and technical directors of Africa's football associations have united to highlight the general progress of the continent's football and the improvements still needed for an African team to win a FIFA World Cup™. 

Reflecting on the technical aspects of Brazil 2014, there was a general feeling among participants that African teams had played their part in the overall success of the
World Cup. 


For the very first time two African representatives reached the second stage of the competition and the general level of football produced was of high quality. 

Particularly satisfying were the performances of Algeria, who lost narrowly, and in extra time, to
eventual champion Germany in the Round of 16. 


Nigeria fell at the same stage thanks to two late France goals, while Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana
both came very close to reaching the second phase. 


Analysing the example of world champion Germany, the top African technicians agreed that, despite having talented players, their nations still have a numberof issues to address, particularly in organisation and administration.

 “If we want to move forward we have to professionalise everything around the team," said Volker Finke, who coached for nearly 20 years in the German Bundesliga and is now national coach of Cameroon

After a disappointing 2014 World Cup, Cameroon are seeking a fresh start with a new generation of young players and is currently leading its group in the 2015 AFCON qualifiers.

Both Finke and the representative from Ghana stressed that disputes around the payment of bonuses to players ahead of the competition had a negative impact in Brazil. 

“The money issue affected players' concentration," commented Francis Oti Akenteng, technical director of Ghana.

We have been successful because we have professionalised the structure around the team.

Taoufik Korichi, Algeria's technical director

Among the other issues that African football is facing, participants mentioned the lack of youth development programmes. 

“The national team is not the place where you can teach the basics of technique and tactics; it has to come before," said Ephraim Mashaba, head coach of South Africa

He pointed as well to the difficulty of working appropriately within the international match calendar, which only allows a few days ahead of and in between matches . 

This limitation is felt particularly keenly in Africa, where travelling between different countries can take several days. 

Shawky Gharib, head coach of Egypt, also underlined the difficulty of having to play international matches during the national league season break, when players are out of
shape.


Algeria was praised by many participants to the conference for the level of football they displayed in Brazil. 

“We have been successful because we have professionalised the structure around
the team," said Taoufik Korichi, Algeria's technical director. “We look at every detail. The administration, the organisation and the technical aspects go hand in hand.” 


Senegal's technical director, Mayacine Mar, was similarly upbeat.

 “We have progressed; we are not far from our objective," he said. "But we need more stability of coaches and technical staff to allow them to develop a project over at least four years." 

The conference was also a very good opportunity to learn from the World Cup and analyse the tactical evolution of the game.

“Football has changed”, said Finke. “In modern football everybody moves, every player has to give to the team and be responsible. The system can change, but what needs to always be there is pressing on the ball and playing collectively, move together”.

The two day event was a unique platform for the elite technicians of the African continent to
exchange ideas and develop new strategies for the future. 


“We should stop thinking about winning today but think of winning tomorrow. We need
to build very good foundations," was the view of Ghana's technical director, Francis Oti Akenteng.


Attention now turns to Kuala Lumpur, where the final post-World Cup conference for continental associations will take place between 29 and 31 October for member associations of Asia’s AFC and Oceania’s OFC.