Kwesi Appiah: Africa's World Cup no disaster
Ghana coach Kwesi Appiah says Africa's failure to progress into the knockout stages of the World Cup for the first time since 1982 isn't necessarily a sign that the continent is regressing on the world stage.
Following Senegal's somewhat controversial failure to reach the knockout stage, Appiah feels it has not all been gloomy for the African contingent in Russia.
"It has been a difficult campaign for the African teams and we can't run away from that," Appiah told KweséESPN.
"With five teams you would have expected at least one through and for the continent it is just not good but you can't judge football on the continent solely by a difficult tournament in Russia."
Despite the difficulty, Appiah insist the continent's five representatives did not embarrass themselves.
"There is no African team in the next round but the margins were very small. Nigeria gave everything and left the tournament with their reputation intact," Appiah added.
"Morocco impressed and you can make the case that maybe they were unlucky and Senegal are heading home with four points because of yellow cards so the little details for many of the African teams have.
Appiah is confident the continent can recover from the failure but says the lessons from the campaign must not be glossed over.
"If you look at the way many of the African teams have gone out to late goals, it is obvious that there is an issue with concentration in key moments that have to be addressed," he continued.
"There were also too many goals conceded from set pieces which means for us coaches on the continent these are areas to work and improve on."
Russia 2018 is the first World Cup since 2006 that Ghana has not been involved, but that has not affected interest in Ghana. Appiah, who is following the tournament from a distance for the first time since the 2010 World Cup when he was Ghana's assistant, says it's been thoroughly enjoyable.
"I have enjoyed watching it. Naturally I would have wanted to be there and I hope that at the next World Cup we are there but I am learning a lot from watching on TV," the Black Stars boss noted.
"There is so much you can pick from a game and for me this tournament has been a great learning experience.
"It has been a great World Cup and a very difficult tournament to predict because every team has improved and the games are very competitive.
"I have been impressed by Croatia and I think Belgium have done a superb job so far. England look to me like they are playing with a lot more freedom. These three teams for me are all capable of going all the way."