The African qualifiers for the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qatar started in September 2019 and will resume on May 31. Currently, 40 teams are still in the race and all of them will be looking for one of the five berths for the big orbital event. The road will be tough. Although there are some favored teams, recent qualifiers have made it clear that no one is assured of a place in the World Cup. There are also some very promising players worth keeping an eye on.
Morocco, the king of Africa:
In recent years, the Moroccan national team has enjoyed an admirable renaissance. They qualified for the 2018 FIFA World Cup after a 20-year absence from the tournament and had a decent performance, managing a draw against Spain. In addition, they have been champions of the last two editions of the African Nations Championship (2018 and 2021). Just a couple of weeks ago they lifted that trophy after beating Mali 2-0 in the final. With those precedents, they are undoubtedly favorites to qualify.
Senegal also has a good chance. They qualified for the last World Cup, are the highest-ranked team in the FIFA rankings (20th) and have a promising generation of players. Nigeria cannot be missing in the list either, they have qualified to six of the last seven World Cups. Algeria, Ghana and Cameroon will also be teams to watch as they seek redemption after failing to qualify for Russia 2018.
Salah leads the way:
If we were to create an African continental team, it would be full of stars. Mohamed Salah (Egypt) and Sadio Mane (Senegal) are the best known African players, thanks to their great performances for Liverpool. But we also have Algerian Riyad Mahrez, Manchester City’s talented winger and Moroccan Hakim Ziyech, Chelsea’s star signing. Nor can we forget Nicolas Pepé (Ivory Coast) and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Gabon), who delight Arsenal fans. Achraf Hakimi (Morocco) shines in Italy, being the starting fullback for Inter Milan. Kalidou Koulibaly (Senegal) is the leader of Napoli’s defense, as is Joel Matip (Cameroon) in Liverpool’s defense.
Thomas Partey (Ghana) is an impenetrable wall in Arsenal’s midfield. That powerful African team would need a goalkeeper, and they have one. His name is André Onana, in charge of goalkeeping for Cameroon and Ajax. There is undoubtedly plenty of talent in Africa.
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