African Soccer
FIFA World Cup 2010

THE WORLD CUP is being played in Africa this year, and it’s about time. African players have been prominent in global club football for decades now -- as many as 1,000 of them play in Europe -- and only a bureaucratic inside job ensured that the 2006 tournament went to Germany when South Africa had been widely expected to get the nod from FIFA, the governing body of world soccer. In its embarrassment, FIFA promised the 2010 finals to Africa, and the growing excitement on the continent is palpable.
And yet African soccer’s progress on the playing field has been pathetic when you compare to the expectations that began to bubble in 1990, when a tough, attractive Cameroon team – led by the brilliant Roger Milla, a 38-year-old striker – charged to the World Cup quarter-finals after beating defending champions Argentina in the opening game of the tournament’s group stage.