The final stages of Africa’s competition for the five spots awarded to the continent in the upcoming Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup Tournament are set. For now, while we wait for the ball to get rolling and the action to get underway, it seems like right now might be the best time to start talking about who we see as the favorites amongst the ten contending teams still in the run. If you were to look at any of the top sports stats websites around, like the ones that carry the top NFL stats and information on other top sporting leagues and competitions around the world you’ll see that the competition if Africa for one of the five spots for Qatar 2022 has all the ingredients for becoming a pivotal and exciting battle through and through.
Now, with only ten teams left in the competition, and with the playoff matchups already decided upon, let’s take a look at our picks for the five teams that will be representing Africa in the upcoming Qatar 2022 World Cup Tournament.
Nigeria vs. Ghana (Our Pick: Nigeria)
There are rivalries in the football world that hold a special place in the hearts of football fans all around. In America there’s Argentina vs. Brazil, in Europe there’s Italy vs. Germany amongst other examples and in Africa, one very clear and strong example of this is the rivalry between neighbor countries and African powerhouse teams Nigeria and Ghana. Now, after seeing Nigeria shockingly leave the 2021 AFCON tournament after losing to Tunisia in their round-of-16 matchup, all attention from the Super Eagles camp is starting to gravitate towards edging out Ghana and taking one of the five spots for the African continent in Qatar 2022.
While Ghana is a team brimming with talents, the edge here has to go to Nigeria based on the individual talents that specific players can bring to the table and turn the results around in a matter of seconds. Having stars like Victor Osimhen, Alex Iwobi, Samuel Kalu, Moses Simon, Maduka Okoye, Paul Onuachu, Emmanuel Dennis, and Wilfred Ndidi to name a few be the backbone of a team automatically gives Nigeria an advantage in a head to head against Ghana, and with new coach Jose Peseiro ready to take on the challenge to take Nigeria to Qatar 2022, all signs point towards a Nigerian victory against their historic rivals Ghana.
Algeria vs. Cameroon (Our Pick: Algeria)
If you were to take Algeria’s performance in the 2021 AFCON tournament as a sign of what’s to come, then the pick would be Cameroon without a shadow of a doubt, but taking into account that before Algeria’s atrocious AFCON showings they were riding on a 35-game winning streak and they entered the AFCON tournament as reigning champions, then all the doubts quickly go away.
Yes, Cameroon is historically known for being one of the most physical and strong African football powers, but there’s no denying that Algeria has everything in place to not only take one of the five tickets to Qatar 2022 but also try and surprise world football fans once they’re in the World Cup tournament. With Riyad Mahrez as the spearhead of what could easily be Algeria’s best generation of football players, Cameroon might be able to give a good fight, but at the end of the day, it’s Algeria we see going through.
Senegal vs. Egypt (Our Pick: Senegal)
Is there any way in which both Sadio Mané and Mohamed Salah can go to the World Cup even if one of their countries is not able to qualify? One could wish, but in reality, only one of the two will be showcasing their talents in Qatar 2022 and from the looks of it, it seems like Senegal have a clear advantage over Egypt here.
Senegal, who right now are the top African football nation in accordance to the FIFA rankings not only has Sadio Mane to count on but also Edouard Mendy, Kalidou Koulibaly, Idrissa Gueye, Abdou Diallo, Cheikhou Kouyate, Keita Balde, Ismaila Sarr, and plenty other players, making Senegal not only a threat for Egypt but a potential sleeper for World Cup greatness in Qatar 2022. It will be sad to not be able to see Salah play in Qatar 2022, but at the end of the day, Senegal is by miles and years a much better team than Egypt.
Morocco vs. Democratic Republic of Congo (Our Pick: Morocco)
If there was ever a team that could surprise everyone far and near it’s the DRC, but then again, once they have to play the likes of Morocco, who are coming into their playoff matchup against Congo with a perfect qualifying record and a +19 goal average, it’s not that difficult to see why almost everyone would pick Morocco as the clear favorites to advance to Qatar 2022.
Even after having their main star, Chelsea stud Hakim Ziyech be outed from the team by coach Vahid Halilhodzic due to a slew of arguments and disagreements between both parties, Morocco has still stood their ground in formidable fashion and all signs point towards them continuing with this trend in the near future. Led by strikers Youssef En-Nesyri, Ayoub El Kaabi, and Ryan Mmaee, Morocco has all the striking power necessary to promptly dispatch the DRC. The question here will be if Ziyech will come back for Qatar 2022? Yes, he most probably will.
Tunisia vs. Mali (Our Pick: Mali)
Last but not least we have Tunisia and Mali, who will be fighting it out for the last ticket for Qatar 2022 in the African continent. While Tunisia can brag about being the team that kicked Nigeria out of the 2021 AFCON tournament, that still won’t do much when facing a Mali team that already knows what it’s like to beat them this year, in their AFCON tournament-opening game.
While Tunisia knows what going to the World Cup is like, with five appearances, Mali who has never been to a World Cup tournament will be relying on that as their main inspiration to beat Tunisia and make their way to Qatar 2022.