Achievements in life especially in sports usually has a dimension to it that makes it predictable to some extent which clearly leaves a pathway that aids future forecast. these patterns if unlocked produces benefits that are unquantifiable. This attributes in particular are distinct in each participants and uniquely embedded in events. We will look at three case studies in Africa, Europe and the world.
THE AFRICAN TRENDS
The multiple winners in the nations cup follow a trend. In the 2019 African nations cup with the Desert warriors of Algeria as the champions . It was the second time they conquered Africa, the first was in Algiers as host in 1990 both had similarities, in both they beat the same teams in the group stages and in the finals (Nigeria-1990 and Senegal -2019) apart from Egypt and then Cameroun fifth title accomplishment, the duo(both) has mastered the act of winning at particular tournaments despite any unique circumstance. all other African teams that have won the nations cup multiple times usually has a trend in victory, a dependence either on home advantage, regional or other factors. is it coincidence? Check out these facts; Camerouns first four conquests were against west African teams, the first three was against the super eagles of Nigeria, while their fourth was against the Taranga lions of Senegal. For the Nigerian team all their victories were against teams that had never won the title (Algeria-1980, Zambia-1994 and Burkina fasao-2013) teams that appeared at the finals for the first time. Three wins from seven finals, from the beaten finalists only the stallions of Burkina Faso have not won but more interestingly, all their victories came without their nemesis, Cameroun `s participation. For Ghana, from their four triumphs between 1963 to 1982 two were as hosts and the other two in north Africa. Ivory coast won both on penalties against the black stars of Ghana (1992 and 2015). It is noteworthy to mention that Congo DR made history in 1974, the first team from Africa to qualify for the world cup as African champions, which was repeated twenty years later by Nigeria.
TRENDS IN EUROPE
At the best continental club tournament in the world which is the champions league, in finals with the same countries the clubs with the most titles and experience usually become winners. In fact, this trend is still on. It could be stated with an element of certainty that Liverpool would have won their 7th champions league title if they had met Manchester city in the finals, factors were in their favor and City showed a significant vulnerability in the semi finals that they will not be able to overcome such historical hurdle.
TRENDS IN WORLD FOOTBALL
The third case study; In world football these trends in victories surfaced at the world cups, with the exception of only Brazil and Germany, all the victors have emerged within continents that have hosted both in America (south and north) or Europe.
Such patterns do not follow a naïve path like at the 2010 world cup in south Africa won by Spain, it was almost impossible to consider that an African team that have never been to the penultimate stages of the event to emerge winners. Also teams with a regular frequency as champions or consistently reaching the final stages will be able to overcome such hurdles, Spain reached the knockout stages at the 2002 and 2006 world cups and won euro nations cup in 2008, also the core of their players were the best they formed part of the winning teams for both barca and Real’s dominance of the champion’s league. This also explains how Cameroun’s fifth title at Afcon in 2017 came even against Egypt-African’s most successful team at the event. the indomitable lions prevailed because they had previous successes and consistency Similarly, Brazil and Germany had the ability to win outside their continents as well because of precedence.
Reversing negative trends, a realistic possibility
The Germans very meticulous with details having won all their duels on penalties dating back to 1976 at the European championships when they lost to Czechoslovakia .This success was highlighted at the 2006 world cup which they hosted, in their quarter final win against Argentina, Jens Lehman was seen consulting a sheet of paper with analysis of the spot kick preference of his opponents. A case of sustained success.
Such outcome can be replicated reversing the negative trend, Italy have positively transformed their fortunes, the Italians lost on penalties at three consecutive world cups which started at home against Argentina in the semifinals (Italia 1990), lost in the finals to brazil (USA 1994) and to the host (France 1998). They overcame these persistent obstacles with a remarkable victory against France at the finals (Germany 2006) penalty kicks were no longer seen as a lottery and an exclusive privilege of a select few but as a skill and discipline that can be mastered. Last summer at the euros. the Azurris beat the Spanish in the semifinals and England both on penalties to increase the world record for unbeaten streak. Such rare and impressive achievement is possible.
On a personal level such improvements can also be actualized, Vincent Enyeama one of the finest goalkeeper from the shores of Africa was usually substituted during the early phase of his career at club and national level each time penalties were approaching but this extraordinary turnaround led to both his saving crucial kicks and also convertinghis against other reliable goal keepers. As a team, unfavorable circumstances has also been reversed, at this year’s Afcon the Teranga Lions of Senegal and the Pharaohs of Egypt had a trend which could have been utilized to predict a winner; no nation at this event had played at three successive finals without victory, the Teranga Lions were last edition`s beaten finalist but the highest ranked team from Africa, their opponents the Egyptians were the kings of this tournament winning it an unprecedented seven times the last time was in 2010 which ended a reign of triple successive tournament domination(an African record) and were beaten finalists in 2017. although they have a culture of winning, their current players had no tangible advantage over the Senegalese, the West Africans were prepared to achieve victory, in their favor the Egyptians opponents in the knockout stages were very formidable CIV, Morocco and Cameroun-all three took them to extra time, they came to the finals battle hardened but tired, for the Senegalese their opponents were relatively easier and their had an extra gear they only had to remain focused their coach Cisse(a captain of the beaten finalist in 2002) and the bulk of this present team (2019 finalists)were ready. They were the bookmakers’ favorites and they did not disappoint. In the finals they had an early penalty which mane missed most teams would have been affected psychologically but not this team, they took the game to penalties and mane scored the winning kick not by chance, they even knocked out the same team to qualify for the world cup with the same means victory in penalties.
These unfavorable circumstances in whatever situation can always be overturned with the right approach. Research and a holistic preparation for upcoming tournaments will in the future enable Algeria (very poor title defense at afcon 1992 and 2022 feeble first round exit or any individual fighting against the opposition and history in the finals or at any stage to prevail irrespective of the circumstances they face if they do what is necessary. Solutions to persistent problems are readily available to those that are willing to do the needful.
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