WORLD CUP 2010: ADEBAYOR HAILS IMPACT ON AFRICAN LIVES

By NBF News
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Adebayor rates Africa's World Cup teams
By Emmanuel Adebayor
Manchester City, BBC pundit and former African player of the year

The World Cup is having a huge impact on people's lives across the whole of Africa.

From speaking to friends and watching events on TV, I know that everybody is excited about hosting the tournament for the first time and proud of the way it is going.

I know there were doubts about whether the continent could hold a World Cup but we are proving that we can.

Africa is showing another face to the world.
With the focus of the world on us and all the best players here, together with thousands of fans from across the globe, we knew it would be difficult but so far it has been a big success.

I would love to be out on the pitch playing but it has been great watching and analysing the matches for the BBC.

Security was a worry beforehand – you can never forget what happened at the Africa Cup of Nations when a gun attack on the Togo team bus I was travelling on left two people dead – but I am very thankful it has not been as much of an issue as people feared.

Critics said before the tournament began that it would not be possible for fans to go out to eat and drink because it was unsafe but I am pleased to say that, so far, that has not been a problem.

People are here to have fun and are enjoying themselves. It is a positive thing for our continent. Seeing players like Lionel Messi, Robinho, Kaka and Cristiano Ronaldo perform will definitely change the lives of Africans.

Football in Africa is something that is evolving constantly. A lot has changed, even in the last 20 years.

Most African countries still have a European coach in charge – Algeria's Rabah Saadane is the only African coach at the tournament – but I am pleased that teams like Ghana and Nigeria now have former players as their assistant managers.

I do not think many African coaches are ready to be the main manager at international level yet but one day soon they will be.

It is a different story as far as the players go. Every year a talented African emerges.

Recently it has been the likes of Didier Drogba, Samuel Eto'o and myself, but it was players like George Weah and Abedi Pele who opened doors for us.

Now it is our turn to do the same for our little brothers who are following behind us. To be honest, I think we are doing a great job.

We are the heroes to the next generation and all we want to do is give them something to dream about. There are a lot of vulnerable children and orphans in Africa and we want them to know football gave us our chance, that we were not born in rich areas either.

The kids have to believe they have a chance. Football offers them that. It is important African people know football is a way of getting a better life.

So, yes, I am very proud of how everything is going off the pitch. It is just on it where I think African sides can do a lot better.

I feel very sorry for South Africa. They prepared very well for the competition – they are still not out of it completely – but I think the pressure of being hosts was a little bit too much for them. They have found it very tough.

Cameroon were the first country to go out of the tournament when they lost to Denmark on Saturday. I think their exit showed how important the first game is. They were beaten by Japan and their confidence was down after that.

With Nigeria, it came down to one lapse of concentration. At a crucial moment, they lost their focus – I still don't know what Sani Kaita was thinking when he got sent off in the defeat by Greece.

Ghana's 1-0 win over Serbia is the only African victory so far

Ivory Coast recorded a good draw against Portugal in their first game but they relied too much on Drogba in their loss to Brazil.

He is clearly struggling with his arm injury and cannot fight for the ball in his usual way, so they might have to try something different against North Korea.

Algeria are not out of it either, especially after drawing with England. They played well in that game and showed good character so they should have more confidence going into their final group game against the United States.

Ghana are doing quite well, too. They probably have the best chance of any African side of making the last 16 but they have a fight on their hands. They still have to play Germany, who are one of the most disciplined sides here.

We have got used to an African team making it out of the group stage. It has happened in every World Cup since 1986, after all.

Let us hope one or two do it this time. We have to believe in them. If they can make it to the knockout rounds, then from then on anything could happen.

Emmanuel Adebayor was talking to BBC Sport's Chris Bevan.