Belletti tips African teams to roar at Qatar World Cup

Fifa World Cup trophy

Kenyans queue to view the Fifa World Cup trophy at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre, Nairobi on May 27, 2022.

Photo credit: Sila Kiplagat | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • Belletti, a World Cup-winning defender, who scored Barcelona’s winning goal at the 2006 Uefa Champions League final, is confident Brazil will perform better at this year’s competition.
  • He spoke on Friday at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre (KICC) in Nairobi during the public viewing of the iconic Fifa World Cup trophy.

Brazilian legend Juliano Belletti has tipped African teams to excel at the 2022 Qatar World Cup, thanks to the experience they have gained in the competition over time.

At the same time, Belletti, a World Cup-winning defender, who scored Barcelona’s winning goal at the 2006 Uefa Champions League final, is confident Brazil will perform better at this year’s competition.

He spoke on Friday at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre (KICC) in Nairobi during the public viewing of the iconic Fifa World Cup trophy.

“I think the African teams can be something different in the next World Cup and the others because they are getting better after every competition,” said Belletti.

Kenyans throng KICC to view Fifa World Cup trophy

Cameroon, Morocco, Tunisia, Ghana and Senegal are the five African countries that qualified for this year’s World Cup scheduled for November 18 to December 21.

Cameroon tops in Africa with seven previous appearances, while both Morocco and Tunisia have graced the global championships five times. Ghana have featured thrice, while Senegal twice.

Balletti, 45, who is the coach of Cruizero Football Club in Brazil, said with the World Cup trophy touring Africa, it continues to inspire the local players to dream of one day lifting the coveted cup.

This he said is possible through belief, hard work, unity and discipline.

“The competition is hard but I played with very many good African players, so I believe one day, it (an African team winning the World Cup) is possible. People just need to have the belief and work hard. The trophy is here to bring hope to the players and make them have the dream of one day winning the World Cup,” he said.

No African country has ever won the World Cup.

Belletti said with former player Adenor Leonardo Bacchi “Tite” still in charge of the “Selecao” and with the side boasting of several top talents, they should perform better than they did at the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

Brazil lost 2-1 to Belgium in the quarterfinals stage of the competition won by France.

Belletti singled out Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain attackers Vinicius Junior and Neymar Junior as some of the top players in the squad.  

“The most important thing for the Brazilian team at the moment is that we have the same manager from the last World Cup. This is very important. We have very good players at the moment, so I believe we can perform better than the last World Cup,” said the former Barcelona star.

He named Didier Drogba, Thierry Henry and Cristiano Ronaldo as his three top picks for the Premier League Hall of Fame.

Both Drogba and Henry have already been inducted into the Premier League Hall of Fame.

He said the presence of the Word Cup trophy during the tours reminds him of their victory in 2002, which "is still a sensational  feeling.”

Then, Brazil beat Germany 2-0 to lift the trophy.

Giant beverage company Coca Cola has partnered with Fifa in taking the trophy to various countries ahead of the World Cup.

It arrived in Kenya on Thursday from Ethiopia.

It was received at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport by Sports Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed and her Tourism and Industrialisation counterparts Najib Balala and Betty Maina after which it was taken to Statehouse where President Uhuru Kenyatta was granted the golden opportunity to lift the trophy.

Yesterday, thousands of Kenyans turned out at KICC to view the trophy and pose for a photo with it but from a distance.

The trophy leaves Saturday morning for a two-day tour in South Africa after which it will return to Tanzania.  

"We were very proud yesterday to take the trophy from the airport to State House. It is a pleasure to have partnered with Fifa in this course of taking the trophy across the city for Kenyans to have a glimpse of it," said Daniela Soares, the Marketing, CRM and Quality Manager at Hyundai.

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