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Sheriff Gomez, others hopeful about African chance

Jun 8, 2010, 2:47 PM | Article By: Lamin Drammeh

With less than 3 days before the world's biggest football showdown take centrestage in South Africa, some football experts have given their opinions, as to whether African teams will make an impact, as they look set to welcome the world for the first time in the annals of football.

As the event inches closer, Pointsport conducted a vox pop to sound the opinions of some of the big sporting personalities.

The Minister of Youth and Sports Sheriff Gomez, who spoke to our reporter in an interview on Sunday afternoon is with the view that African teams can definitely make a huge impact when the tournament kick-off on Friday.

"There is a lot of hope in the likes of Cameroon, Nigeria, Ghana and all the African teams who continue to showcase the raw talents in Africa," says Gomez.

Gomez went further to add that all the six teams have proven to everyone that they deserve to be in the World Cup, adding that they are teams to reckon with.

Doubts have been cast over the African teams' possibilities of making a big impact when the FIFA's biggest football showpiece begins. But if the words of the country's Youth and Sports Minister are anything to go by, African teams will deliver as expected, considering the high qualify players at its disposal, whom most of them are undeniably the finest footballers in the world.

"I think Africans have produced a good number of world class players who have been doing well for their respective clubs in the biggest leagues in the world and I strongly believe they will make a big impact with their teams in South African," Gomez added.

But the continent's hope of producing the most attractive football of the tournament has taken a new twist with the news that it would be without one of the finest footballers in the world. This is due to injuries to the likes of Ghana midfield kingpin Michael Essien, and John Obi Michael, who ruled himself out of the tournament a few days before the World Cup. This is as a result of a long term knee injury, as Drogba remains a serious doubt after the Ivorian superstar underwent a successful operation after he broke a bone near his arm in Ivory Coast 2-0 win over Japan on Friday.

The Ivorian Football Federation is still confident that Drogba, who netted 44 goals for his country in 69 appearances, could be fit in time to play a part in South Africa, despite the player himself admitting that his World Cup is over. This is shortly after he was withdrawn after giving Cote D’ Voire a 13th minute lead.

Sheriff Gomez admits that, the injury is a major concern, but he was quick to state that there are good players who can fill the vacuum left by the big name absentees.

The Country Manager of Gambega Seth Adu Baah, who tipped his own country Ghana to live up to expectations, said Africa has got a lot of potential to deliver. He added that they have also put in a lot of efforts towards the tournament.

The South Africa Counsul to The Gambia, Modou S. B Taal, who also spoke to this reporter is hopeful of African teams’ chances of making a huge impact in the tournament, which is slated for 11th June-11th July 2010.