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Jun 29, 2014

African, Asian failures look for answers

Ghana coach James Kwesi Appiah discusses the overall performance with the African teams that participated in the tournament.

DOUALA, Cameroon -- The presidents of Cameroon and Ghana have called for investigations following disappointing World Cup showings that saw both countries eliminated during the group stage, while Asian football was also left looking for answers after all four nations were eliminated in the group stage.

In Cameroon, state media said President Paul Biya had given his Prime Minister one month to submit a report on the Indomitable Lions' "inglorious campaign."

A statement from Biya's office said the report should include steps for a "profound and deep restructuring of Cameroonian football."

Cameroon were knocked out in the group stage after losing all three matches to hosts Brazil, Croatia and Mexico.

The state-owned Ghana Broadcasting Corporation said President John Mahama had also decided an investigation was needed. Mahama has already replaced his sports minister.

Both teams placed at the bottom of their groups and had their campaigns marred by disputes over appearance-fee payments. Two Cameroon players also scuffled during a match against Croatia, and the national football federation derided their "disgraceful behaviour."

Ghana sent Sulley Muntari and Kevin-Price Boateng home on the eve of their final group game against Portugal for disciplinary reasons.

Meanwhile, Asian football experienced its worst World Cup since 1990 with not one of its four qualifiers -- Australia, Iran, Japan and South Korea -- managing to win a match. Four years ago in South Africa, both Japan and South Korea made it to the knockout rounds.

The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) president Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim al Khalifa issued a statement insisting that all of its members must learn from the failure in Brazil.

"This World Cup serves as a lesson to all Asian nations," the statement read. "The Asian teams are rather young on average so they can only get better, but what is of particular importance now is that we stay united.

"Asia must acknowledge its shortcomings, but at the same time we must believe in our own ability. The AFC is determined to unlock the full potential of Asian football.

"We must bring our game to the next level and there is no time to wait. Football will not slow down and nor will the rest of the world.

"Our brand new initiatives are planned with progress in mind, as we look to enhance the overall quality of our football, from infrastructure, commercial, competition to administration, and hopefully its effects are evident by the next World Cup."

Japan coach Alberto Zaccheroni, who has resigned since the country's exit, highlighted the physical differences between his side and other nations.

"I think the culture of Japanese soccer and the special characteristics and technique of the players can cut it on the world stage but physical strength is what is lacking," he said.

South Korean coach Hong Myung-Bo added: "Our players always have a dream but in order to realise this dream [to win the World Cup] we have to make a lot of efforts. In this World Cup we didn't have good results. I think that each team played in a different style but overall I think there were a lot of deficiencies in Asian teams."

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