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Kanoute wants African countries to invest in domestic football

When Cameroon beat Argentina at the opening match of the 1990 World Cup in Italy and went on to reach the quarter-finals, it seemed that African football had finally made the breakthrough on the world stage.

It was only a matter of time, observers said, before an African team won tournament.

Since then, six World Cups have been played and no African team has even reached the semi-finals. Although African players have shone individually in European club football, it has not been to the same extent that South Americans have.

Chaotic administration is often blamed for African football's perceived lack of progress, with players and directors involved in last-minute squabbling over bonus payments, along with political meddling.

Former Mali and Sevilla forward Frederic Kanoute sees another reason holding back African football; a lack of competitive, domestic football on the continent.

Kanoute told Reuters in an interview that if African countries could develop their own professional leagues, it would help showcase their own talent and give players an alternative to pursuing a career in Europe.

The 40-year-old, who also had spells at West Ham United and Tottenham Hotspur in the Premier League, said that when European agents come to Africa to buy players the system is a "lottery" because it is difficult to see the player perform in a genuinely competitive environment.

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