The soccer fraternity will not only be rooting for overall management success of the greatest global sporting showpiece but will also be egging the greatest and youngest players to demonstrate their exploits on the field of play.
The African continent’s five representatives namely, Nigeria, Algeria, Ivory Coast, Ghana and Cameroon will bear a huge burden to show the world that they are there to compete not just participate.
The major driving force for them will be to make amends for their failure to exploit on field success when South Africa hosted the 2010 edition which would have crowned the spectacular management of the tournament by South Africa.
The continent has come a long way to compete effectively on the greatest soccer arena as it has had to maneuver through a lot of potholes through time.
Egypt was the first on the continent to throw its hat in the ring at the second edition in 1934 which involved 32 teams competing for 16 slots. In their first encounters they crossed swords with Palestine and Turkey.
Following the Turks withdrawal the Pharaohs went into action steamrolling Palestine 7-1 and 4-1 in Cairo and Jerusalem.
The Pharaohs took to the field by storm clashing with other global giants in a contest organized on straight knockout basis. They would eventually emerge with a bloody nose going down 4-2 to Hungary in Naples.
Egypt’s Abdulrahman Fawzi, was the centre piece of the campaign. He netted twice to become the first African to score at the World Cup finals. But open and blatant biased refereeing took the wind out of the Pharaohs sails campaign.
Fawzi third goal was ruled offside by the Italian referee despite the player having weaved his way through the Hungary rearguard from the middle of the pitch.
To make matters worse; the fourth Hungarian goal involved a fracas where the Hungarian striker broke the Egyptian goalkeeper's nose with his elbow.
The shame in that game was hard to bear as Italian newspapers heavily criticized their referee for showing such blatant bias against the Egyptians.
Africa returned to the global stage in the 1970’s. But the momentous occasion was in West Germany when DR Congo then Zaire became the first Sub Saharan Africa country to make it to the World Cup.
The Leopards were placed in group 2 along with Scotland, Yugoslavia and Brazil. They impressed in their first encounter against Scotland with their fast attacking style, but lost 0-2.
Scotland’s defender, Jim Holton summed up the Scottish view on the performance of the Leopards after the match.
"Let's face it, we underestimated them. For fifteen minutes I wondered what the hell was going on, where the devil had this lot come from, playing stuff like that!" he said.
But in the next encounter Yugoslavia exploited the Zairian defensive lapses, trouncing them 9-0 in a then record win for a World Cup finals.
Zaire striker Mulamba Ndaye, who was given marching orders and sent off during the game for protesting that a goal by the Yugoslavians were offside, blamed team management for the debacle.
Following the defeat, the team was reportedly warned by the country's dictator Mobutu Sese Seko not to come home if defending champions Brazil beat them 4-0 or worse.
He had rewarded the players for qualifying to the World cup with a house and a car each.
Zaire managed to keep Brazil score line to 0-3 defeat, but Zaire left the tournament without scoring a goal.
The fortunes for Africa got better when Argentina played host to the 1978 edition ,there Tunisia who were in Group 2 with West Germany, Poland, and Mexico became the first African team to win at the tournament.
The Carthage Eagles walloped Mexico 3-1, then lost to Poland 1-0 in their next game they, missed several chances and finally held West Germany to goalless draw but in the end failed to proceed to the next round but with their head held high African football pride had been restored.
The 1982 edition which was hosted saw Africa light glowing even more. Cameroon’s team which was in Group 1, surprised everyone by remaining unbeatable.
The y had goalless draw against Peru and Poland, then played out a 1-1 stalemate against Italy. Grégoire Mbidanetted scored Cameroon’s first World Cup finals goal in that match against Italy.
Italy had also drawn its three matches, so they had a goal difference of 0, but an overall superior aggregate. They had scored two goals to Cameroon's one, so Cameroon were eliminated.
This was especially painful because in their opening match against Peru, Cameroon striker Roger Milla had a goal wrongly disallowed for offside.
During the same tournament Algeria who were placed in group 2 with West Germany, Austria, and Chile, produced a major upset in their first match, whipping West Germany 2-1.
They suffered a setback in their second match when they went down 0-2 to Austria. They however, recovered in the last game when they pulled out another surprise by beating Chile 3-2.
The victory over Chile was not enough to allow the Desert Foxes through to knockout stage. The following day, West Germany and Austria played their final game in Gijón knowing that a 1-0 or 2-0 win for West Germany would result in elimination of Algeria and qualification of both European teams on goal difference.
West Germany struck a lead after ten minutes, but then both teams played a purposeless game by passing the ball aimlessly around for the remainder of the game…. Hmmm what a shame.
This performance angered spectators. The Spanish fans screamed, "Fuera, fuera!" ("Out, out!"), while angry Algerian fans waved banknotes at the players to suggest that the game was fixed. Even the two sides' fans were not pleased.
Austrian television commentator told viewers to switch off their television sets, while a German television commentator refused to commentate further. One German fan went further by setting the national flag on fire in protest.
Algerian football officials lodged an official protest with FIFA alleging match fixing which the two teams denied. The two teams were let off the hook as nothing suggesting match fixing could be proved that the two teams had technically broken no rules.
The elimination of the Algeria did not take the wind out of the Africans sails because in the 1986 edition which was played in Mexico, Morocco became the first team to storm into the last 16 after registering a goalless draw against Poland and England, rounding up with a 3-1 victory over Portugal from the group stages.
Despite this tremendous feat and accomplishment, Morocco was booted out of the competition 1-0 by West Germany.
Morocco’s trailblazing success was followed up by another spectacular performance at the Italy 1990 tournament by Cameroon.
In their first match at the tournament, they (Cameroon) stunned Diego Maradona's defending champions Argentina 1-0.The lone goal was scored by François Omam-Biyik.
The Indomitable Lions were able to pull out this surprising result despite finishing the match with only nine men.
In their next encounter, Cameroon defeated Romania 2-1.The two goals were scored by 38-year old substitute Roger Milla.
These were Milla's first official goals in the World Cup. The goal he scored against Peru during the 1982 FIFA World Cup was wrongly disallowed as offside.
However, Cameroon failed to maintain a clean sheet, rounding up the group stages with an 0-4 loss to the Soviet Union.
Nonetheless they cruised through the knockout stage by beating Colombia 2-1, with Milla again coming on as a second half substitute and scoring a brace, notably dispossessing Colombian goalkeeper René Higuita for one of them.
In the quarter finals, they were seven minutes from clinching the semi-final berth when England was awarded a penalty. England won the match 3-2 after extra time. Three of the five goals were scored from penalty spot (1 for Cameroon, 2 for England).
Egypt was in Group F with England, Netherlands, and Ireland in the group stages. This group turned out to be one of the toughest groups in World Cup history. There were five draws in six outings. Egypt drew 1-1 with the Netherlands, drew 0-0 with Ireland, but lost their final match 0-1 to England.
Egypt's only goal of the tournament was a penalty by Magdi Abdelghani against the Netherlands. Egypt was however booted out from the World Cup tournament, still without registering a win after losing their only match previously in 1930.
When the United States hosted the tournament in 1994, Africa only had three slots which were won by, Cameroon, Nigeria and Morocco.
This time around, Cameroon did not repeat the Italy 90 feat, it had a dismal showing.
They drew their first game in Group B with eventual semi-finalists Sweden 2-2 and lost their second to eventual winners Brazil 0-3,and also lost 6-1 to Russia in the last group stage match.
The Indomitable Lions were trailing and were down 0-3 when half-time substitute Roger Milla pulled one back in the 46th minute to become the oldest man at 42 to ever to score at the World Cup finals, sparking brief hopes of a miracle comeback.
Morocco also had disastrous run in group F losing its three matches by a goal each, 0-1 to Belgium, 1-2 to Saudi Arabia, and 1-2 to the Netherlands.
On the other hand however the Super Eagles of Nigeria helped to redeem Africa by cruising to the knockout stage.
In their Group D, campaign Nigeria thumped eventual semi-finalists Bulgaria 3-0, then lost 1-2 to Argentina before beating Greece 2-0.
Nigeria, Bulgaria, and Argentina all finished on six points but Nigeria and Bulgaria qualified for the second round on strong goal difference.
In the knock out stage, Nigeria met Italy. Nigeria had a bright start when Emmanuel Amuneke put the Super Eagles ahead in the 25th minute.
But the Eagles 1-0 lead was cancelled two minutes to fulltime by Roberto Baggio. Baggio stretched the game beyond Nigeria’s reach when the game entered into the extra time to send the Super Eagles packing.
This was the third successive World Cup where an African team had gone beyond the first stage, following Morocco in 1986 and Cameroon in 1990.
This prompted world soccer governing body FIFA to increase Africa's allocation from three to five slots.
The Super Eagles again stormed into the last 16 when France played host to the 1998 World Cup tournament.
But the remarkable moment for Africa came in the 2002 tournament co-hosted by Japan and South Korea when Senegal repeated a feat Cameroon had registered 12 years earlier.
Senegal coached by Frenchman Bruno Metsu shocked defending champions France 1-0 win in a group A encounter with its lone goal coming from Papa Bouba Diop.
They then drew 1-1 with eventual group winners Denmark .They rounded up the group stages campaign by holding Uruguay 3-3.
Senegal would then progress to the next round while former champions Uruguay and France were sent packing.
The Senegalese continued with their spectacular run in the knockout stage, by beating Sweden 2-1 after extra time through a Henri Camara golden goal. Camara was also the scorer of the first goal.
But the Senegalese spectacular run ended in the quarter-finals against Turkey, when they conceded a goal four minutes into extra time.
Despite Senegal’s brilliant performance the four other African representatives however had a disastrous showing in group B, South Africa drew 2-2 with Paraguay with an injury time penalty, then scored their first ever World Cup win by beating Slovenia 1-0.
However with a 2-3 loss to Spain, they were booted out of the tournament.
Cameroon in group E drew 1-1 with Republic of Ireland, beat Saudi Arabia 1-0, and then lost 0-2 to Germany.
Nigeria who were in group F, lost 0-1 and 1-2 to Argentina and Sweden respectively but held England to a 0-0 (goalless) draw.
Tunisia had also dismal run as well in group H as they lost 0-2 to Russia, drew 1-1 with Belgium, and lost 0-2 to co-hosts Japan.
Following the success of Senegal in Korea and Japan four years earlier, the African continent had low expectations when Germany hosted the 2006 tournament because soccer giants like Nigeria, Cameroon and Senegal did not qualify for the tournament.
Africa had Tunisia along with four debutants, Angola, Ghana, Togo and Côte d'Ivoire as its representatives.
At this World Cup Finals, Côte d'Ivoire lost its first two Group C matches 1-2 to Argentina and to the Netherlands before making a stunning comeback back from 0-2 down to beat Serbia and Montenegro 3-2.
Angola was placed in group D, the only African team at the finals coached by a local coach Luis Oliveira Gonçalves .
The Palancas Negras (Black Antelopes) lost their first match 0-1 to Portugal, then drew 0-0 with Mexico and rounded up their maiden world cup appearance with a 1-1 draw against Iran.
However, Togo who were in group G stole headlines off the pitch with disputes over team bonuses causing coach Otto Pfister to walk out on the team until right before the first match with FIFA officials stepping in to stop the players boycott of their second match.
They would however go on to lose 1-2 to Korea, 0-2 to Switzerland, and 0-2 to eventual finalists France.
Tunisia who were put in group H during this tournament, drew 2-2 with Saudi Arabia, lost 1-3 to Spain (including an injury time penalty from Fernando Torres), and 0-1 to Ukraine.
Ghana who were in group E were the bright spot for Africa this time around. They had a bumpy start losing 0-2 to eventual winners Italy but won 2-0 against Czech Republic and rounded up their maiden World Cup finals campaign with 2-1 win over the USA.
Consequently the debutants (Ghana) ensured an African representative in the Round of 16 for the sixth successive World Cup.
However, they were knocked out by Brazil in the Round of 16 by a 3-0 shoreline. The match was later alleged to have been fixed. But the Ghana Football Association strongly denied these allegations.
Ghana again rose to the occasion to prove that their spectacular performance four years earlier was not a mere fluke. They further embellished their record by reaching the quarter finals stage where they were controversially eliminated by Uruguay.
This was after the hosts South Africa, Côte d'Ivoire, Nigeria, Algeria, and Cameroon had fallen on the way side.
Ghana were eventually defeated by Uruguay on penalties after Luis Suárez controversially handballed the ball on the goal line deep into extra time, denying Ghana an almost certain winning goal.
Had Ghana won their quarter final they would have become the first African nation to progress to the semi finals of the world cup.
So African flag bearers; Nigeria, Ghana, Algeria, Côte d'Ivoire and Cameroon will be jockeying for a place in the sporting annals to better off the previous record the continent set- by going beyond the quarter final stage for the first time ever come Brazil 2014