2017 FIFA Confederation Cup kicks off on Saturday June 7 in Saint Petersburg – the ancient city of Russia. IZUCHUKWU OKOSI chronicles the participation and performances of African teams in the tournament reserved for continental football champions. Cameroon are making their third appearance in the 2017 edition
Only Nigeria and Cote d’ Ivoire have reached the last four of the tournament.
The FIFA Confederations Cup was previously known as the King Fahd Cup, named after Fahd of Saudi Arabia.
The competition had that title in 1992 and 1995 before FIFA took over the organization of the tournament in 1997 and named it the FIFA Confederations Cup.
Cote d’ Ivoire (1992)
Cote d’ Ivoire was the first African team to participate in the FIFA Confederations Cup when it was known as the King Fahd Cup in 1992.
The Ivorians had won that year’s African Cup of Nations beating Ghana in the final in Senegal.
Cote d’ Ivoire were defeated 4-0 by Argentina on 16 October 1992 in the semi-finals and lost 5-2 to the USA in the third place final on 19 October 1992.
Saudi Arabia hosted the tournament which was won by Argentina who defeated Saudi Arabia 3-1 in the final.
The 1992 tournament was the only one not to feature a group stage and only had four teams in attendance.
Nigeria won the 1994 African Cup of Nations in Tunisia, the second AFCON title in the country’s history. That was the ticket they needed to fly Africa’s flag in the 1995 King Fahd Cup as the African champions.
The Eagles also finished fourth in the tournament which had six teams in attendance. The Super Eagles were defeated by Mexico in the third place match, 5-4 on penalties after 1-1 at regulation time at the King Fahd International Stadium, Riyahd on 13 January 1995.
Ramon Ramirez scored Mexico’s goal within the 90 minutes of regulation time but Daniel Amokachi restored parity eleven minutes later.
In the shootout, Nigeria’s penalties were converted by Austin Okocha, Mutiu Adepoju, Austin Eguavoen and Ben Iroha while Emmanuel Amuneke lost his kick.
The Nigerians finished second with four points in Group B behind Argentina with same number of points but the Argentines had a better goal difference (+4, while Nigeria had +3).
Nigeria defeated Japan 3-0 (with goals from Amuneke, Adepoju and Amokachi). They then drew scoreless against Argentina.
South Africa (1997)
Saudi Arabia also hosted the tournament in 1997 despite FIFA taking over its organisation.
South Africa represented Africa having hosted and won the African Cup of Nations in 1996.
The Bafana finished bottom of the Group B table. The South Africans were held to a 2-2 draw by Czech Republic, defeated 1-0 by United Arab Emirates and were also defeated, 4-3 by Uruguay.The South Africans however won the FIFA Fair Play Trophy.
Egypt were African champions after the 1998 African Cup of Nations so represented Africa the following year in Mexico.
The Pharaohs finished bottom of a Group A that comprised of Mexico, Saudi Arabia and Bolivia with just two points after three games.
The Egyptians were held to a 2-2 draw by Bolivia in their first match, they were also held by similar result against Mexico but lost 5-1 to Saudi Arabia.
As a dress rehearsal to the 2002 FIFA World Cup co-hosted by South Korea and Japan, Cameroon who edged Nigeria in a dramatic penalty shootout in the final of the 2000 Africa Cup of Nations co-hosted by Nigeria and Ghana were Africa’s flag-bearers in Korea/Japan.
On 31 May 2001 Cameroon began their campaign on a losing note against Brazil 2-0. The Indomitable Lions also lost their next game against Japan on June 2 2001.
The Africans however won their last group game two days later against Canada winning 2-0 with their goals scored by Bernard Tchoutang and Patrick Mboma.
The Indomitable Lions of Cameroon were also the African representatives in the next edition of the FIFA Confederations Cup in France in 2003.
France retained the title they had won in 2001, but the tournament was overshadowed by the death of Cameroon’s Marc-Vivien Foé, who died of heart failure in his side’s semifinal game against Colombia.
Cameroon had topped their Group B
after defeating Brazil and Turkey 1-0 each and holding the USA to a scoreless draw.
A Pius Ndiefi goal was all they needed to beat Colombia in the semifinals but that was a sour victory as the Lions lost the enigmatic Foe to death.
Cameroon were defeated 1-0 by France in the final thanks to a Thierry Henry goal in the 97th minute of extra time. The late Marc Vivien Foe was awarded the Bronze Ball prize.
Tunisia represented Africa at the 2005 FIFA Confederations Cup as the winners of the 2004 Africa Cup of Nations.
The north Africans finished third in a Group A that consist of Germany, Argentina and bottom-placed Australia.
They lost 2-1 against Argentina, 0-3 to Germany in their second match, but defeated Australia 2-0 in their last group outing.
South Africa (hosts) & Egypt (African Champions; 2009)
Two African countries took part for the first time in the tournament. South Africa were the designated hosts of the 2010 World Cup and Egypt had won the Africa Cup of Nations a year earlier.
South Africa finished second in Group A with four points behind Spain who had a perfect nine points from three matches.
The hosts drew goalless against Iraq, defeated New Zeland 2-0 but were themsleves beaten 2-0 by Spain.
On their part, Egypt were the bottom-placed team in Group B. The Egyptians were beaten 4-3 by Brazil, they pipped Italy 1-0 in their second group game and lost 3-0 to the USA.
The Super Eagles returned to the tournament for the second time in Brazil.
Despite arriving late for the Confederations Cup, the Nigerian national team got off to a perfect start, beating a hapless Tahiti semi professionals 6-1 in their first Group B match on 17 June 2013.
Nnamdi Oduamadi scored a hat-trick in the one-sided game while left back Elderson Echiejile scored too but the Tahitians conceded two own goals no thanks to some calamitous defending by Nicolas Vallar and Jonathan Tehau.
Nigeria then lost their second game 2-1 to Uruguay on 20 June 2013. Diego Lugano scored the first goal of the match for the South Americans. Nigeria captain John Mikel Obi equalised after an individual piece of skill in the 37th minute. Diego Forlan however scored the winner for Uruguay six minutes into the second half.
The Eagles’ last group game was a 3-0 loss against a rampant Spanish side three days after the defeat to Uruguay.
Nigeria won $1.7m for their participation at the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup in Brazil.