There are just five African teams at the 2022 World Cup – each with stars, different styles of play and for the first time, managers from their own country, rather than Europe.
Africa brings noise to the World Cup. The fans are bright and loud, while the players are often full of flair and fire in equal measure. Pelé’s prediction of an African team in the semi-finals at the start of the 21st century may not have come true, but who knows? Maybe we’ll see that this time?
Here are the five African teams in this tournament, ranked from least dangerous to most dangerous.
All that spoke about Denmark’s opener was that they lacked a proper attacking striker – but that did Tunisia a disservice somewhat.
The North African team may be the weakest of all their continent’s teams to qualify for the competition, but they are still incredibly well coached. Hannibal Mejbri may be the future star, but there is experience on the pitch – particularly in Montpellier leader Wahbi Khazri – as well as pace down the flanks and physicality.
Tunisia are not expected to qualify from a group that also contains France – but a win over Australia would position them well to do just that.
Cameroon has arguably the greatest African player of all time, in the current president of the Cameroon Football Federation, Samuel Eto’o. Manager Rigobert Song has also played in five World Cups – there is a legacy in the structure.
The current harvest is not as potent. Karl Toko Ekambi, Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting and Bryan Mbeumo are a dynamic front line, but there is not the depth of quality in the ranks of the Indomitable Lions that some tournament nations can boast. Still, they work hard as a unit and can disrupt the big boys’ day.
In Achraf Hakimi, Morocco has the most expensive African player of all time. There is also good quality in the rest of the side. Nayef Aguerd and Romain Saiss form a good defensive partnership, with Hakim Ziyech and Youssef En-Nesyri as excellent forwards in the flank.
Morocco have gone far at the Africa Cup of Nations and tactically they are a fascinating team who obviously rely heavily on their right side, with Hakimi and Ziyech in harmony while Angers midfielder Azzedine Ounahi drops into the right-back slot to cover. However, they are not pressing with the ferocity of some of their rivals and the lack of a spike – a historical problem for Moroccan teams – may limit them in this tournament.
Ghana withdrew from the Africa Cup of Nations in the group stage in 2022 without a win. It may seem strange to rate them so positively nine months later, but since that disaster, everything has been moving forward for the Black Stars.
Milovan Rajevac is gone, Otto Addo has joined and he is not alone. Tariq Lamptey is now in the setup, as are Athletic Bilbao’s Inaki Williams and Southampton’s Mohammed Salisu. Ajax’s Mohammed Kudus is now in charge and there is a swagger back to the Ghanaian setup that was sorely lacking in Cameroon earlier this year.
They are the favorites to go the furthest of all African teams in this tournament for a reason.
OK, so they are without Sadio Mané. But we give them the benefit of the doubt and still say they are the best of the African teams at this tournament – they also played admirably against a strong Netherlands.
With Chelsea duo Kalidou Koulibaly and Edouard Mendy like rocks at the back, Senegal have a strong backbone behind them, with a plethora of decent midfielders up front and Ismaila Sarr and Boulaye Dia in attack. Senegal are compact in defence, expansive in attack and while not blessed with world-class depth, they have plenty of dangerous players.
Of course, no Mané is a loss. How will this affect them in Qatar?