The African Qatar onslaught


Africa heads to the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar without its best player. Will this spell doom for the entire continent or will it inspire a reawakening of the continent’s five representatives?


The Teranga Lions of Senegal head to the World Cup as African Champions and probably the best placed team to lead Africa’s onslaught on the Mundial. Unfortunately; the Senegalese will be without their best player and talisman; Sadio Mane, due to injury which has casted much more doubt as to the timing of this World Cup.

The unavailability of Mane is a huge blow to the chances of the Senegalese; however, they have a squad filled with some quality attacking talent. Nicolas Jackson just burst unto scene with Villarreal this season. He sure will be relishing his chances of getting playing time at the World Cup while the likes of Bamba Dieng and Ismailia Sarr will trouble many defences at this tournament.

With so much attacking talent; Senegal look like they can cope without Mane; the problem has to be a lack of creativity in midfield. Senegal has a generation of midfielders that are alike. Plenty of steel, power and industry but very little panache. Some may say this is a problem that Senegal takes care of easily with it’s pace from wide areas; however, at this level, teams need something extra; an X factor that sets you apart from others.

Aliou Cisse’s men are in Group A; alongside the hosts, Qatar, Netherlands and Ecuador and this looks like a pretty straight forward group but Ecuador are the tricky proposition in there. Host countries are always dangerous propositions but Qatar would just enjoy the spectacle they have put together and Netherlands are a proper tournament team and one many aren’t taking a close look at, which is puzzling.

Verdict: Senegal are one of three African countries to have gotten to the quarter finals of the World Cup; I think they stand a chance of doing it again.


The Cartage Eagles of Tunisia are one team that baffle many on how they consistently seem to find their way to the World Cup only to produce underwhelming performances at the big show piece.

Tunisia are reaping the benefit of years of investment in the game domestically; combined with a new generation of talent springing up across Europe.

This is the foundation on which Tunisia’s recent participation at World Cups is built on; back to back appearances; even though they are the only current African representative that hasn’t gone beyond the group stage. Tunisia on the other hand are only second behind Cameroon on World Cup appearances which should count for something.

Tunisia find themselves in a very tough group with defending champions France, Denmark and Australia where they are obviously least favourite to qualify out of. This is a Tunisia side that has a lot of experience and a sprinkle of youth; as well as a blend of African based and European based players with Wahbi Khazri providing leadership. In Hannibal Mejbri, Tunisia have a talent a lot is expected from but he’s had a tough season in the English Championship and is yet to match his talent with great output.

Verdict: It very much looks like another first round exit is on the cards for the Tunisians; I just can’t see them getting out of this group.


The Atlas Lions of Morocco have similarities to their North African neighbours Tunisia but have a better World Cup performance record. Morocco were the first African team to make it past the first round; even though that was an age ago. The prospects and expectations from this Morocco side are quite high; they have a big foreign based contingent now as they have lately called on their diaspora base to represent the country. Morocco have a current generation of talent plying their trade at some of the biggest clubs in the world mixed with their recent domination of African Club Football with the likes of Wydad, Raja and RS Berkane; the Atlas Lions seem to be right on track.

Morocco are in a very tough group; even though on paper they have a good looking team; they lack the experience at this level bar Canada. In Belgium and Croatia; you have the third and second placed teams from the last World cup in their group with an overload of World Cup experience.

In Hakim Ziyech and Ashraf Hakim; Morocco have two players that can light up any stage and a lot will depend on them if the Atlas Lions are to advance.

Verdict: It’s hard; very, to see Morocco progress from this group.


The Black Stars of Ghana, along with Cameroon and Senegal are Africa’s most successful team at the World Cup, but this is their first appearance at the World Cup since 2014. The Black Stars team looks a lot different from the team that got qualification at the expense of the Super Eagles of Nigeria.

Coach Otto Addo has tinkered with the team since qualification and called in the Calvary from the Diaspora with the switch in nationality of the likes of Inaki Williams and Tariq Lamptey adding some quality to an otherwise lukewarm Black Stars team. In Mohammed Kudus; Ghana have a player that can turn things around in an instance and with the switch of nationality by Williams; the Black Stars solve their problems in front of goal post Asamoah Gyan.

The Ghanaians look like a great prospect on paper; the question is will all these new components gel quickly and smoothly. In Group H, Ghana lock horns with their nemesis from 2010 in Uruguay; stacked Portugal and interesting South Korea. The job for Ghana is made tougher with a opening fixture against former European Champions Portugal; not a great way to get a World cup campaign going; so the two games against Uruguay and South Korea are make or mar for the Black Stars.

Verdict: Four points from their last two matches may be Ghana’s route out of this group; will they get the points? A tough proposition.


The indomitable Lions of Cameroon did the unlikely by going to Algiers to earn qualification under the guidance of Rigobert Song; a former captain and inspirational leader of many great Cameroon sides. Under Song, Cameroon has shown a stronger defensive mettle and confidence that has set them up for a strong showing at this World Cup.

Cameroon have an impressive forward line with Bayern’s Eric-Maxim Choupo Moting in the form of his life; the pace and aggression that comes with Brentford’s Bryan Mbeumo  and the experience of Vincent Aboubakar make Cameroon look like a great prospect. The question marks remain in the defense for the Lions as this must be the least capable defensive component in ages; the likes of Martin Hongla and Zambo Anguissa will provide the required industry and guile; but it just may not be enough.

Cameroon are in Group G alongside favourites Brazil, Switzerland and Serbia; a tough prospect if you ask me. Unfortunately, I do not know how Cameroon will navigate their way out of this group.

Verdict: Despite all of Samuel Etoo’s encouraging words and bravado; Cameroon’s campaign will end in the  group stage.

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Prost International Africa Correspondent

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