As the Africa Cup of Nations tournament goes on in Ghana, one region of the world is conspicuously missing. The Eastern Africa region, with its history of poor performance is football, is a perennial absentee at this continental gala. All the other regions, North, South and especially West Africa are represented by various teams.
Perhaps it is time that the FAs of Eastern African countries – Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Somali, Ethiopia, Burundi and Rwanda – got together to find a solution to the problem of underperformance by their teams. And money is not the issue. Uganda and Kenya have bigger economies than Benin but Benin managed to make it to the tournament. Even unstable Ivory Coast is in the tournament, and shining with its world famous stars.
The problem is not just in the national teams. This region’s leagues are also the weakest on the continent. Enyimba, Asante Kotoko, Obwasi Goal fields, Esperance, Zamalek, Pirates are all famous clubs from all the other regions who have won the continental club championship or featured prominently. None of these clubs is from Eastern Africa.
So as Eastern Africans sit back and enjoy the talents of the Drogbas and Essiens of the continent, they should also ask themselves why it is that their teams remain such underachievers when it comes to continental football.