Welcome to yet another week. We hope it will be a fruitful one for you.
Over the course of the last weekend, several World Cup qualifiers were played. The fate of some countries was sealed and we had some entertaining games on display.
With the World Cup qualifiers done and dusted in Africa, we take a look back at some of the key happenings and events in the just-concluded round of qualifiers.
The Dominance of Northern African Countries
In recent times, the African continent has gotten used to being represented on the world stage by countries from every other part of the continent, asides North Africa.
Since the turn of the century, the Northern African teams – a majority of them – just refused to show up whenever it was time to battle for World Cup tickets. But all that changed with this year’s edition of the CAF World Cup qualifiers.
Egypt, a nation that had failed to qualify for the World Cup in 20+ years became the second country to qualify for the tournament, coming in just behind Nigeria. After tasting defeat in their group once, they went on to dominate the group, qualifying with a game to spare.
The Tunisians, unbeaten, also finished top of their group after being given a run for their ticket by Congo DR.
Morocco had to leave pretty late before they earned their spot at the World Cup finals. In what was dubbed as the game of the last round of qualifying games, they beat the Ivoirians and ran away with the one World Cup ticket allotted to the group.
Alongside Nigeria and Senegal, these are the three African teams that will be representing Africa in Russia, and they’re from the North. Talk about dominance!
2. The Flops
As we celebrate the sides that have already qualified for the World Cup, let’s touch on some of the household names that were expected to make it through to the big stage but failed to make the cut.
While Cape Verde and Congo DR put on quite the show, the same cannot be said about the campaign of countries like Cameroon – who finished third in their group, Ghana – who also finished third in their group, and Mali – who finished rock-bottom of Group C.
Whether this is a good thing for African football is still subject to discussion. But it’s obvious that there are no football minnows on the continent again. The competition has become stiffer and the “other” countries are ready to ruffle feathers and cause major upsets if allowed.
A couple of countries ended the campaign unbeaten. Nigeria, Tunisia, Senegal (still have a game in hand) and Morocco did not taste defeat. But, will all these matter when the draws are made and the competition proper kicks of June of next year?Tags: CAF, CAF qualifiers