Angola coach Pedro Goncalves is looking forward to leading his side at the African Nations Championship starting in Algeria next week but has also commented on the future of African football in general.
Goncalves admits he was captivated by Morocco’s run to the semifinals of the World Cup, and says this should become the norm for African teams, and not the exception.
“Africa has very strong teams that can rival any opponent,” he recently told O JOGO. “I don’t know if in the next World Cup (in 2026) there will be an African team in the final. Everyone longs for this and I think campaigns like Morocco had will happen more often. I believe that Africa is here to stay.”
Goncalves says African players are becoming more and more valuable to the global game.
“All of us have already realised the strength of the African player. Many live in Europe and are aware of what competitiveness and reality is at the highest level. With the right commitment they help to make the countries where their roots are better.
“In Africa there are 12 to 14 teams of identical ability. There is an unfair guillotine because only five of the 54 who are vying for (World Cup) qualification can go. In 2026, we can have up to 10 African teams and others will have the opportunity to show quality and competence.”
Goncalves says that should also give players in African leagues – like those at CHAN – the chance to compete at the World Cup.
“From sub-Saharan Africa, there were 78 players represented (at the World Cup in Qatar) and only four were from African leagues. Of these, only one played and that was only five minutes on the field.
“We have to reflect on this and adapt our work to promote local talent.”