Blatter berates African chopping & changing

ZURICH - FIFA president Sepp Blatter, a staunch supporter of African football and the continent's right to host the World Cup, criticised their teams on Friday for chopping and changing coaches in the run-up to the World Cup.

Blatter, who has firmly stood by South Africa as host nation despite fears over crime and infrastructure, also predicted a bleak World Cup for the team unless the Bafana Bafana improved dramatically on Thursday's 0-0 draw with North Korea.

"The talent of African players is at least as great as that of players from other countries, including Brazil and the Americas," he told a news conference.

"They have got more in terms of individual talent. It is as if they are dancing or playing at acrobatics.

"What is missing is tactics. But how can they have this if they change the coach just a few months before the start of the biggest competition in the world?

"This continuity is missing because it is so important to feel the soul of the country where you are coaching, and how can you do this in a few months?"

Three of Africa's five World Cup representatives have recently swapped coaches.

Ivory Coast appointed former England and Mexico manager Sven-Goran Eriksson at the end of last month, having one month earlier fired Bosnian Vahid Halilhodzic.

Nigeria appointed Swede Lars Lagerback to replace Shaibo Amodu in February while South Africa named Carlos Alberto Parreira last October after firing fellow Brazilian Joel Santana.

Santana had himself replaced Parreira in April 2008 when the Brazilian World Cup winner quit for family reasons.

"If South Africa go on to play like they did against North Korea.....," said Blatter.

"If they want to progress in the competition, they will have to score goals. No goals, no going forward."

Blatter, who has repeatedly stated that hosting the World Cup is a reward for Africa's contributions to the sport, said that one of FIFA's priorities was to establish professional leagues on the continent to help stop the exodus of African players to Asia and Europe.

"The African teams have always been good competitors at the Club World championship and I'm waiting for an African team to get to the semi-final of the World Cup," he said.

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