Profile of the five countries representing Africa at the 2022 World Cup
After an enthralling playoff matches over the last few days, Ghana, Senegal, Morocco, Tunisia and Cameroon will represent Africa at the 2022 Federation of International Football Association (FIFA) World Cup, later in the year in Qatar.
It is worth noting that three of the African countries who have reached the furthest (Quarter-finals) of the competition; Ghana, Senegal and Cameroon would be looking to make greater exploits this time round in the competition.
Here’s a brief look into the pedigree of the five countries at the World Cup:
The Indomitable Lions of Cameroon would go to Qatar as an Africa side, with the most appearance in the competition, a record eight times.
They appeared at the 1982, 1990, 1994, 1998, 2002, 2010 and 2014 competitions and are set to make an appearance at 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar after edging Algeria in the playoffs in a dramatic fashion.
The Indomitable Lions led by their talisman Roger Milla who scored four goals at the 1990 World Cup in Italy progressed to the quarter-final stage for the first time in the history of the continent in the competition.
Cameroon was denied a place in the semi-final after a 3-2 defeat against England in extra-time.
However, of the eight appearances, the most significant which remains in the memory of the lovers of the game, was the 1990 World Cup where they beat Diego Maradona led Argentina in the opening match courtesy Oman Biyick’s header in the first half, which stood for the entire 90 minutes.
They have since 1990 not made any significant impact at the world cup, not even with a generation of Samuel Eto’O and Patrick Mboma, who formed a deadly striking partnership in 2002 World Cup.
Internal wranglings, player revolts over allowances and bonuses among other have contributed to their poor show and 2022 could be the turning point this time around.
The Teranga Lions would be making their third appearance at the FIFA World Cup in 2002 and making their last appearance in Russia 2018.
The exploits of Senegal in 2002 was very remarkable having reached the quarter-finals of the competition.
Senegal stunned World Champions France in the group opener courtesy a strike from Bouba Diop having made it to the next round placing second in the group.
They edged Sweden on penalties in the Round of 16 but missed out on the semis to Turkey courtesy a memorable strike in extra time by İlhan Mansız.
Senegal in their last World Cup outing in Russia became the first team, to be eliminated based on the fair play rule after being tied on four points with Japan.
The West Africans have a story similar to that of Cameroon, as they have not been able to improve upon their performance after their maiden appearance in 2002.
For many, the 2002 generation led by their present Coach Aliu Ceesay, Kalilu Fadiga, Henri Camara, Bouba Diop, coached by Bruno Metsu could have broken the continental record by advancing to the semi-finals for the first time.
On the hand, Senegal would be appearing at this years’ World Cup as the continental champions having won the Africa Cup of Nations for the first time in their history.
Coupled with that, they would be one of the teams with a fine galaxy of talents and quality, capable of breaking the continental record by reaching the semi-finals.
The Carthage Eagles would be making their sixth World Cup appearance at the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
The two-time Africa Champions appeared at the 1978, 1998, 2002, 2006 and 2018 FIFA World Cups.
Tunisia is the only side among the five qualified teams, who have never progressed to the knock-out stages of the competition.
Again, their performance at the last AFCON where they exited from the knockout stages after the group matches, gave them little chance of qualification.
For Tunisia, making it beyond the group stages in Qatar, would be their biggest achievement.
One time World Cup quarter finalist, the Black Stars of Ghana would be making their fourth World Cup appearance in Qatar.
The Black Stars previously appeared at the 2006, 2010 and 2014 World Cups.
Ghana secured their first World Cup qualification in 2006 having managed to sail out of the group which had the likes of Italy, Czech Republic and USA.
The Black Stars made some remarkable exploits in the 2010 FIFA World Cup when they made it to the quarter-finals, where they were denied a place in the semis by Uruguay on penalties.
Ghana managed to seal qualification to the World Cup, despite being tagged as the underdogs from the group stages. What made things worse was their last performance at the 2021 AFCON, when they were eliminated from the group stages after suffering a humiliating 3-2 defeat at the hands of tiny Comoros.
Ghana’s first appearance was historic, when the Black Stars sold out brand of football that depicts skills, power, aggression and passion to the world.
Eliminated by almighty Brasil at the first round, the Black never disgraced themselves. Four years on in South Africa, the Stars shocked the world and were just a shot away from a historic semi-final berth, but for the “heroics” of Luis Suarez.
However, 2014 in Brasil was a disaster, as mistrust, infighting, player revolt, saw Ghana making a disgraceful outing in Brasil.
In all three previous appearances, Ghana had the quality to compete at the highest level, with the likes, of Kevin Prince Boateng, Stephen Appiah, Asamoah Gyan, Micheal Essien, and Sulley Muntari.
But the 2022 squad on paper looks less fearful, with a seemingly young and inexperienced players, some of whom have never had any major competitive experience.
Morocco would be making their sixth appearances at the World Cup, having showed up in 1970, 1986, 1994, 1998, and 2018 and now the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
The best results achieved by the Atlas Lions was at the 1986 World Cup in Mexico where they reached the Round of 16.
Over the years, they have always boasted of the needed quality to make an impact, but unlike their South Saharan African brothers, they had no issues with management, player revolt, or financial issues, but pundits are of the opinion that, their style of play which is more like the Europeans had always given them up.
2022 presents them a perfect opportunity to re-write the wrongs, having failed to make any significant impact at the last AFCON in Cameroon.