Previewing the African Nations in the 2022 FIFA World Cup

Another World Cup, another opportunity for Africa to announce itself on the global stage. For decades, African teams have come into the tournament with so much optimism but have often failed to live up to expectations. A few of them will be hoping to change that narrative once and for all. 


Some of the continent’s elite didn’t make the competition as a result of Africa’s gruesome World Cup qualifying process. Nigeria, Algeria, and Ivory Coast would have really fancied their chances in this competition, but it wasn’t to be. Senegal, Morocco, Cameroon, Ghana, and Tunisia will carry the mantle for Africa. Here is how we think they will all get on at this tournament:




Tunisia are a very organised team, they don’t concede many goals and they work very hard as a team. However, that isn’t good enough at a World Cup. They have very few top-quality players throughout their squad and they don’t create many chances and score very few, and they were quite fortunate to have made it to the competition, considering in the final stage of qualifying they registered just 2 shots on target across both legs even though Mali played with 10 men for the majority of the first leg, with the Eagles of Carthage qualifying courtesy of an own goal from Moussa Sissako, who was sent off four minutes later in a 1-0 defeat followed by a 0-0 draw in Tunis.


A team this stubborn, however, can cause problems for a few nations and maybe the things that served them so well in Africa, can be of use in Qatar. Historically, Tunisia are capable of the odd upset at times, for example in the 1978 World Cup beating a high-powered Mexico side 3-1. Of the 5 countries representing Africa, they are the only one to have never made it passed the group stages of the World Cup, and that is likely not going to change this time around. 




If you want to see excitement, heartbreak, and every other feeling sports can give you all at the same time, go and watch the last 10 minutes of Cameroon’s final qualifier against Algeria. Algeria won the first leg 1-0 away in Cameroon, but early in the second leg, Erick Maxim Choupo-Moting levelled the score on aggregate making for a mouth-watering game.


The game went into extra time and in the 118th minute, Algeria scored. The stadium erupted. The fans were going crazy. The commentators were crying. It was done, right? Algeria have qualified for the World Cup? They only had to hold on for 2 minutes at the end of extra time to reach the promised land, but they couldn’t. In the 123rd minute, Cameroon somehow, someway, managed to get the winner and book their place at the World Cup. 


Cameroon are a very good team, with a few of their players having incredible seasons for their clubs. There aren’t many players in world football playing as well as Andre Frank Zambo Anguissa of Napoli in midfield, whilst Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting has scored 8 goals in his last 9 games for Bayern Munich and filled a Robert Lewandowski-sized hole in attack for Julian Nagelsmann’s side.


The Indomitable Lions may not have the star power and strength in depth as some of the other African teams, but they do have some real quality. They have a core as good as anyone else in world football and if things go their way and captain Vincent Aboubakar can continue leading them up front, it could be a great World Cup for Cameroon.



Following a shocking campaign at this year’s African Cup of Nations, no one in their right mind had Ghana beating Nigeria to qualify for the World Cup. Finishing bottom of the group with just 1 point and a -2 goal differential and losing to Comoros may have been the lowest point in Ghanaian football history. 


Even getting to the final qualifying stage was a close call, they needed a 1-0 against South Africa on the final matchday to book their place. But even after such difficult times, they managed to get to the World Cup. They fired Serbian coach Milovan Rajevac and replaced him with Ghanaian Otto Addo. That didn’t change the fact that Nigeria were the overwhelming favourite in this West African derby. 


But with great defensive work and solid structure they did it. Ghana qualified. On top of that, a few players that had previously committed to other national teams flipped and decided to represent Ghana. Mohammed Salisu (Southampton), Inaki Williams (Athletic Bilbao), and Tariq Lamptey (Brighton) are in Ghana’s squad to travel to Qatar.


This makes them a very interesting team, to say the least. Adding some quality to a team that has obviously bought into the new coach and his ways makes Ghana a team to watch at this World Cup. And to make things even more interesting… They are in the same group as Uruguay. 




A true dark horse. Morocco were Africa’s most dominant team in qualifying, winning 6 out of 6 while scoring 20 goals and conceding just 1. They are a team filled with talent that can and will surprise a lot of people at this year’s World Cup. Although they were a little disappointed not to proceed passed the quarter-finals at the African Cup of Nations, they looked very good, and had it not been for a scrappy goal by Egypt in extra time, they would have gone much further. 


This is somewhat of a new-look side for the Moroccans, welcoming back talisman Hakim Ziyech and Bayern Munich fullback Noussair Mazraoui. This completely changes things for them, and they won’t be afraid to go toe to toe with anyone that comes. Mazraoui along with Achraf Hakimi, who is arguably the best right back in the world, form the best fullback duo in the competition. 


Group F is by no means an easy one. Morocco are joined by Belgium, Croatia and Canada, making up one of the hardest groups in the competition. The Atlas Lions begin their campaign against the 2018 runners cup, Croatia led by Luka Modric. If Morocco can get a positive result in their opener against stiff opposition, it could be a springboard for them to achieve big things in 2022. 




Arguably the best African team ever to represent the continent on the world stage, on paper, Senegal are one of the very best teams in this competition. But as we know, football matches are not won on paper. However, the task gets harder with their best player Sadio Mane out with injury. Senegal are in group A with hosts the Netherlands, Ecuador, and the hosts Qatar. Not an easy group by any means, but Senegal should have no problem qualifying even without Sadio Mane. However, any hopes of making a genuine run in the competition are almost certainly over with this heartbreaking injury.


But Senegal do have star power all over the field playing for some of the biggest clubs in the world. From Chelsea’s Edouard Mendy between the posts and the general Kalidou Koulibaly marshalling the back line and helping them play out of the back. A midfield that consists of players like Idrissa Gana Gueye, Nampalys Mendy and Pape Matar Sarr who are capable of winning the ball and quickly feeding the ball to the likes of Ismaila Sarr and Boulaye Dia in the final third.


Their biggest downfall, however, could be their lack of real competition within Africa. They are so far better than everyone else in Africa, they dominate every game with 60% possession or more. How they adapt and play when teams will demand more of the ball will be key for Senegal and how far they can go. Their game plan will surely be altered without Mane but they still have enough quality to get out of their group, but any further than that would be a massive achievement.


By: Mohamed Salad / @SaladNFL

Featured Image: @GabFoligno / @GabFoligno / Soccrates Images – Getty Images