Neymar: African Talents Need to Do More for Their National Teams

Neymar: African Talents Need to Do More for Their National Teams
Credit: Iconsport

Brazilian forward, Neymar Jr, has sent a message to the big African talents in the European and world football space. Neymar, who lifted the French Ligue 1 trophy with Paris Saint-Germain on Saturday, was talking about the state of football when he made these comments.

Neymar with Messi and Mbappe
Credit: Iconsport

The former Barcelona man, who is on the verge of exiting the French giants, believes that African teams should be achieving more in the World Cup. He compared their gameplay for their clubs in Europe and their outings with their national team, pointing out the disparity in the performances and urging them to do more.

African Players Have Lots of Talent, Says Neymar

An uncertain source posted the statement attributed to Neymar Jr., which outlines the difference in the mentalities of South American players, especially his Brazilian compatriots, and African players.

The 31-year-old, whose international future is also unsure, claimed that although Africa is blessed with talents, they do not translate it to their national teams.

“African Players have talent, but they only show it to their respective clubs, not for their respective countries,” Twitter user Frank Khalid quotes Neymar as saying.

“This is why Brazil has 5 World Cups, because African players don’t have a lot of passion to represent their countries like South American teams and the Europeans. It’s surprising because the best African players play in best clubs in Europe.”

The statement attributed to Neymar was debunked by another Twitter user Brasil Edition, who reports inside news from Brazilian players outside the country, the Brazilian leagues and the Brazilian national team camp.

On the surface, however, the statement holds true. Bar Senegal, who have slowly rebuilt their football from the ground up to be able to compete with the rest of the world, the powerhouses of African football have become also-rans in global events.

Serie A striker of the year, Victor Osimhen, who also finished as the Capocannoniere award winner for being the division's top scorer, has struggled to replicate those performances with the Nigeria national football team.

African Football Peculiarities in Favour of Players' Poor Performances

Osimhen, the AFCON qualifiers 2023 top scorer, is one of many African players who fit this bill. This gives credence to the comments attributed to Neymar. Only the youth sides, like the Nigeria U-20 team currently featuring in the 2023 FIFA U-20 World Cup have shown any promise.

Nigeria's Victor Osimhen
Credit: Iconsport

Still, Neymar's comments about the performances of players like Osimhen, Kelechi Iheanacho, Taiwo Awoniyi, and a host of other Nigeria Super Eagles players only scratch the surface.

African football has quite a long way to go in all ramifications. These changes, which are yet to occur, are what has led to players like Bukayo Saka and Noah Okafor turning out for other nations.

The talent, which the statement attributed to Neymar alludes to, is undeniable but as long as these peculiarities exist, things will be different. Senegal and most recently Morocco, have shown what is possible. The players of the three-time AFCON winners, Nigeria's Super Eagles, have also shown this in their various clubs. It is only a matter of time.

This article was most recently revised and updated 8 months ago

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