Super Eagles goalkeeper trainer, Ike Shorunmu, has backed an African team to reach the semi-finals of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, Freelanews reports.
The assertion came on the heels of the statement by Senegal captain Kalidou Koulibaly, who suggested that African teams lacked self-esteem, adding that and it was one of the reasons they had never won the World Cup.
No side from the continent has ever made it past the quarter-finals, with Cameroon (1990), Senegal (2002) and most recently Ghana (2010) knocked out in the last eight – all after extra time or penalties.
This year’s finals start November 20 and will run till December 18.
Speaking with The PUNCH, Shorunmu, who featured for Nigeria from 1992 to 2002 and made 36 appearances, believes Qatar will offer African teams another opportunity to show they have come of age.
“It is unfortunate that Nigeria will not take part in this year’s World Cup, but the important thing is for us to look forward,” he said.
“On the other African teams going to the World Cup, I believe they all have the belief that they can make a huge impact. The truth is, any country going to a tournament goes with the mindset of winning.
“Winning the biggest football showpiece is a big question mark, but getting to the semi-finals is a point of duty for all the countries and I am sure that most of the countries have what it takes to get there and it will be a big plus for the continent as well.”