'African teams will put up a good show'

Pele predicted an African team would win the World Cup before the end of the last millennium, but recent experience has dampened expectations of glory as the continent prepares to host the tournament for the first time.

Pele predicted an African team would win the World Cup before the end of the last millennium, but recent experience has dampened expectations of glory as the continent prepares to host the tournament for the first time.

Cameroon's progress to the quarterfinals of the 1990 tournament in Italy raised hopes that Africa would be the next force in world football, but only one team, Ghana, managed to get past the first round last year in Germany. The semifinals still remain unchartered territory for African countries.

Carlos Alberto Parreira, who coached Brazil to victory in 1994 and is now in charge of South Africa, believes Africa will put up a better showing with so many players now turning out regularly in Europe's top leagues.

But he also acknowledges the continent's teams face a huge challenge. - Sapa-AFP

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