Oh no, no Mo! Plenty for Africa's teams to learn after shock failures (2023)

Africa's World Cup qualifying concluded on Tuesday evening with a pulsating series of second legs, leaving Nigeria and Egypt fans bereft upon their teams' exits.

While five teams -- Ghana, Morocco, Senegal, Tunisia and Cameroon -- have booked their tickets to Qatar, much of the discussion after the dramatic bouts has focused on who's missed out on the global showpiece.

But there's still plenty to see for Africa's fans, including Liverpool and Senegal stalwart Sadio Mane, and Cameroon creatives Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting and Karl Toko Ekambi.

Here are the key talking points -- and some of the lessons learned -- from the denouement of Africa's World Cup qualifying campaign.

Africa's finest to miss out on Qatar

Africa's most high-profile absentee at the World Cup later this year will be Mohamed Salah, after Egypt came up short -- again -- when faced with Senegal and a penalty shootout.

Less than two months after losing the Africa Cup of Nations final against the Teranga Lions on penalties, the Pharaohs again came up short after Hamdi Fathi's own goal in Dakar cancelled out Saliou Ciss's own goal in the first leg in Cairo.

Having been criticised for not taking a penalty in the Nations Cup final shootout, Salah stepped up first on Tuesday, only to blaze his spotkick over the bar after Kalidou Koulibaly, Senegal's skipper, had hit the bar with his opening effort.

Ahmed Sayed Zizo and Mostafa Mohamed would also miss as Senegal ran out 3-1 winners in a shootout blighted by lasers being shone in the faces of Pharaohs players by the home supporters.

Those of a Senegalese persuasion may claim it's karmic justice for Egypt fans aiming lasers of their own at the Teranga Lions during the first leg, but legitimate questions can be asked about why the Algerian official didn't intervene amidst some feeble pleas from the stadium announcer for fans to desist in their bating of the visiting players.

The Egyptian Football Association have lodged a formal complaint, but it's unlikely to change the bottom line: Salah will miss the World Cup.

It's a bitter blow for a player who's considered Africa's finest, and is enjoying a magnificent season at club level, but whose international legacy is unravelling after a miserable two months.

Failure to reach Qatar comes on the back of a disappointing AFCON for Salah -- even though he was generously named in the Team of the Tournament -- with Egypt ultimately capitulating in the final.

Now 29, 2022 was the year for Salah to take on both the AFCON and the World Cup in his prime; instead, one passed him by, and he'll be absent for the other.

He'll turn 34 during the 2026 tournament, and failure on Tuesday surely means that -- after injury overshadowed Salah's performance at Russia 2018 -- we've likely been denied the prospect of ever seeing one of Africa's all-time greats truly make his mark on the grandest stage.

Africa's champions advance to the World Cup, but Africa's top player is left ruing what might have been.

Nigeria only have themselves to blame

Elimination by Ghana in Abuja on Tuesday -- the Black Stars advance on away goals following a 1-1 draw -- brings to a close three and a half chaotic and muddled months in which the Nigeria Football Federation have surely contributed to their own side's demise.

While few supporters argued with the dismissal of Gernot Rohr in mid-December, the timing of the German coach's exit -- so soon before the Nations Cup and the World Cup playoff -- raised concerns.

Subsequently, Nigeria have been made to pay for his precipitous -- or belated, depending on your point of view -- dismissal.

After a premature exit at the AFCON, they were second best against Ghana in Kumasi by failing to net an away goal, and were then up against it from the opening stages in front of their own fans, when Thomas Partey gave the Black Stars the advantage in the eleventh minute.

Nigeria responded from the spot via William Troost-Ekong, but head coach Augustine Eguavoen -- initially the short-term replacement for Rohr -- failed to capitalise on his immense attacking resources to hurt a Ghana side who conceded three goals against the Comoros just over two months ago.

Of course, the absences of Wilfred Ndidi and top goalkeeper Maduka Okoye were massive blows, but once again, the absence of a strategy, the lack of coherent long-term thinking, and inconsistency in selection and appointments have undermined a genuinely talented Nigeria squad.

The consequence is that the Eagles -- can we really call them 'Super'? -- miss out on only their second World Cup since first qualifying in 1993. NFF and Amaju Pinnick have serious questions to answer...

Morocco silence the critics...for now

Unlike their fellow north Africans Egypt and Algeria, a difficult few months for Morocco ultimately ended in delight as they thumped the Democratic Republic of Congo 5-2 on aggregate -- with a 4-1 triumph in Casablanca on Tuesday -- to progress.

The resounding victory will silence some of coach Vahid Halilhodzic's critics for now, with the Bosnian previously alienating many supporters and media with his decision to cut Chelsea playmaker Hakim Ziyech and Ajax's Noussair Mazraoui.

The knives were out after their limp Nations Cup exit at the hands of Egypt, while the decision to omit the creative Ziyech -- who's since retired from international football -- risked coming back to haunt Vahid after they were held 1-1 in Kinshasa in the first leg.

After a magnificent attacking display in Casa, however, coupled with a 100-percent record during the group stage, Morocco's tails are up as they reach consecutive World Cups for the first time since 1998.

Most encouragingly, based on Tuesday's showing, are the new threats emerging in the form of Tarik Tissoudali -- who scored twice across the two legs -- and Azzedine Ounahi, whose double in the second leg took the tie beyond DRC.

Both players only made their debuts for Morocco at the AFCON, in the victory over Ghana, but have settled well at international level, with Ounahi's magnificent opener on Tuesday the most outstanding moment of individual quality from across both matchdays in Africa.

Even more encouragingly for Halilhodzic, however, will be the way the two dovetailed for the 21-year-old's second, as Tissoudali burst down the left before crossing for Ounahi to finish calmly.

With invention and interplay like this, who needs Ziyech...?!

Queiroz departs Pharaohs post

The first (and probably not only) managerial casualty from the World Cup qualifiers is Egypt's Carlos Queiroz, who announced his exit from the Pharaohs post in the immediate aftermath of their defeat.

"[The] dream is over," he posted on social media. "From the bottom of my heart, my gratitude to Egypt Federation for this honour of coaching the National Team.

"It was my privilege to work and be helped by such dedicated and capable professionals and wonderful friends."

The ex-Real Madrid head coach and Manchester United assistant manager promised much upon his appointment as Egypt boss, having overseen a notable improvement with the Iran national side during two World Cup campaigns with Team Melli.

While he did take Egypt to an AFCON final, his brief six-month spell with the national side has been one of frustration and controversy, with the Pharaohs winning few admirers for their cagey, conservative style, and Queiroz's own incendiary touchline antics prompting criticism.

He was suspended for the Nations Cup final after being sent off in the semi against Cameroon, although both during that tournament and for the playoff against Senegal, Queiroz managed to oversee resolute defensive displays despite a swathe of key absentees due to injury and suspension.

READ: Who's has qualified for the World Cup, and who's still waiting?

Algeria's decline continues

Few could have imagined, at the turn of the year, that the first quarter of 2022 would go so badly for former African champions Algeria and Riyad Mahrez.

They entered the calendar year as reigning African champions, and cultivating a continental record undefeated streak, only for things to unravel spectacularly. Their run ended on 35 matches at the hands of modest Equatorial Guinea, before they were dumped out of the Nations Cup by the Ivory Coast.

In the first leg of these playoffs, it appeared as though they had finally put an end to their disastrous run by banishing the demons of Douala and defeating Cameroon at the Stade de Japoma -- the same arena where their AFCON dreams had imploded -- setting them up for a strong second leg in Blida.

Algeria have never lost a match at the Stade Mustapha Tchaker -- winning 36 of their previous 43 fixtures at the venue -- but that run came to a screeching halt on Tuesday, in the most remarkable circumstances.

Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting's goal -- firmly against the run of play -- in the 22nd minute ultimately sent the tie to extra time, and while substitute Ahmed Touba thought he'd won it with a header in the 118th minute, Karl Toko Ekambi struck from close range in the 125th minute to send Cameroon to Qatar.

Head coach Djamel Belmadi collapsed to the turf, head in hands, tears rolling down his cheeks at the full time whistle, simply aghast at how -- as during the AFCON -- Algeria could dominate possession, create a hatful of chances, but fail to kill off a contest.

Manchester City maestro Mahrez, irresistible at times, was also guilty of missing a decent opportunity, and he, like Salah, will have to watch Qatar 2022 on television.

For Cameroon, Samuel Eto'o's decision to sack head coach Toni Conceicao, and appoint national legend Rigobert Song has paid off handsomely, as the Indomitable Lions qualify for their record-extending eighth World Cup.


How many African countries are left in the World Cup? ›

The colourful flags and dramatic nicknames of African countries alongside the continent's best footballing talents will add vibrance to the tournament. The five African representatives — Cameroon, Ghana, Morroco, Senegal and Tunisia — will be hoping to break the continent's quarter-final jinx.

Did Senegal qualify for round of 16? ›

Senegal beat Ecuador 2-1 to become the first African nation to qualify for the round of 16 at a FIFA World Cup since 2014 on Tuesday.

How many African teams are in the World Cup? ›

FIFA World Cup: Senegal, Morocco, Tunisia, Ghana, Cameroon story so far. Africa's five representatives at the FIFA World Cup have made a slow start in Qatar, but it hasn't all been doom and gloom for them.

How many points does Ghana need to qualify? ›

Though Ghana needs only a draw to qualify, Black Stars coach, Claude Le Roy still wants to maintain a winning run in the tournament. “We have six points but the three teams can go to the quarter finals. I think it's better to have six points than three points.

What is the furthest an African team has gone in the World Cup? ›

The highest ranked result in the World Cup for an African team is 4th place in the 2022 FIFA World Cup by Morocco, who was also the first African country, and the second Arab country (after Turkey in 2002, to qualify for the semifinals in a World Cup, after beating Portugal 1-0 in the Quarterfinals.

How many African teams will qualify for the next World Cup? ›

The continent will have nine places at the expanded 48-team tournament in North America and have decided on a format of nine groups, where the winner alone will qualify for the World Cup, the Confederation of African Football announced on Friday.

Which country in Africa has ever won World Cup? ›

No, an African country has never won the World Cup. This leaves Morocco in a superb position to become the first country from the continent to lift the trophy. However, they have already made history, becoming the first African side to reach the World Cup semi-finals after their win over Portugal.

Which African team is the best in World Cup history? ›

1. Morocco (Second Round in 1986, Semi-finals in 2022)

Which African team beat Brazil? ›

Beginning of dialog window. Escape will cancel and close the window. Rewatch Cameroon's previous victories at the FIFA World Cup™ over South American sides, after they became the first African side to defeat Brazil.

What happens if Portugal loses to Korea? ›

If South Korea loses or draws against Portugal, then it will get knockout of the World Cup. South Korea's qualification hopes for the FIFA World Cup 2022 Round of 16 saw it finally make the cut after a stunning counter attacking goal by Hwang Hee-Chan in the second half injury time.

Can Korea make it to round of 16? ›

South Korea became the penultimate team to qualify for the round of 16 at the FIFA World Cup 2022 with a thrilling 2-1 win over Portugal in its final Group H fixture in Doha on Friday.

Has Ghana ever scored in the World Cup? ›

In their four FIFA World Cup tournaments, Ghana has played 12 matches – four victories, five losses and three draws. The Black Stars have scored a total of 13 goals and conceded 16.

Who will USA play in the round of 16? ›

CHICAGO (Dec. 2, 2022) – The U.S. Men's National Team will kick off the knockout stage of the 2022 FIFA World Cup with a Round of 16 clash vs. Netherlands on Saturday, Dec. 3.

How safe is Senegal for tourists? ›

Senegal - Level 1: Exercise Normal Precautions

Some areas have increased risk. Read the entire Travel Advisory. Exercise Increased Caution in: The Casamance region due to crime and landmines.

What is the highest scoring World Cup game? ›

The highest scoring game in World Cup history was played out during the 1954 tournament, as Austria beat Switzerland 7-5 (yep, 7-5) in a quarter-final tie.

Which African team will go farthest? ›

The African team that might have the best chance of advancing from the Group Stage and potentially going furthest is Senegal, as they share a group with The Netherlands, Ecuador, and Qatar.

What is the farthest the US has made it in the World Cup? ›

[1] Although the Americans eventually lost to Argentina in the semifinals, the 1930 World Cup still marks the furthest stage the Americans have reached in World Cup history.

Has an African team ever made the World Cup semis? ›

Morocco became the first African side to make the World Cup semi-finals on Saturday after a controlled victory over Portugal. They topped their group in Qatar (ahead of Croatia, Belgium and Canada) and then beat former world champions Spain on penalties in the round of 16.

Where will the final of the 2026 World Cup be? ›

The only previous time the United States hosted the World Cup, in 1994, the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif., got the final. This time, SoFi Stadium is the Los Angeles-area site on the list of stadiums for 2026.

How many teams will qualify from Africa to World Cup 2026? ›

Summary of qualification
ConfederationDirect slotsTeams started
5 more rows

How many African teams qualify for World Cup 2023? ›

The 2023 FIBA Basketball World Cup qualification for the FIBA Africa region, began in November 2021 and concluded in February 2023. The process determined the five African teams that would participate at the 2023 FIBA World Cup.

Which African country is the richest? ›

Seychelles is the richest country in Africa, with a GNI per capita of $14,540. Mauritius follows closely with a GNI per capita of $9,920, while Libya is the third richest country in Africa with a GNI per capita of $8,700. South Africa is the fourth richest country in Africa with a GNI per capita of $6,530.

Has any North American team won the World Cup? ›

Believe it or not, the U.S. men's national soccer team has never won a World Cup. The team has never even advanced to the final.

Has Africa ever been in a war? ›

Recent East African conflicts have included the Burundi Civil War (1993–2005), the 1998 embassy bombings, and the Rwandan Civil War (1994). The Ugandan Civil War and the Darfur conflict, among other local conflicts, continue.

What is African French called? ›

African French (French: français africain) is the generic name of the varieties of the French language spoken by an estimated 167 million people in Africa in 2023 or 51% of the French-speaking population of the world, spread across 34 countries and territories.

Has Nigeria ever won Brazil? ›

The Soccer Teams Brazil and Nigeria played 1 Games up to today. Among them, Brazil won 0 games ( 1 at Total Score, 0 at Home Stadium away), Nigeria won 0 (1 at Home Stadium, 0 at Total Score away), and drew 1 ( at Total Score, 1 at Home Stadium).

Who is the best team in Africa history? ›

The Egypt national football team, also known as the Pharaohs, is one of the most successful teams in African football history. Having won a record seven Africa Cup of Nations titles. Led by their star player, Mohamed Salah, the team has also qualified for three FIFA World Cup tournaments.

Which team has never lost to Brazil? ›

In fact, Norway is the only team in the world who has played Brazil and never lost, winning two matches and drawing on two other occasions.

Which African team has beaten Argentina? ›

But, in 2011, Nigeria tasted their first win against Argentina with a 4-1 friendly victory. In another friendly the same year, Argentina returned the favour, beating Nigeria 3-1. In the Brazil World Cup, Nigeria joined Argentina in the round of 16 despite losing the head-to-head clash 3-2.

Which African team beat Argentina? ›

The fanfare for Diego Maradona was drowned by the drums of Black Africa in Milan last night as Cameroon defeated Argentina, the World Cup holders, to open the 1990 tournament by destroying a whole package of preconceptions. This was no fluke, the better team won.

Has South Korea ever advanced in the World Cup? ›

South Korea's starting line-up against Italy at the 1986 FIFA World Cup. In 1986, South Korea won the East Asian tournament of the 1986 FIFA World Cup qualification including two victories against Japan in the final round, and was able to qualify for the World Cup for the first time since 1954.

What did Ronaldo say to the Korean player? ›

"The Korean player was telling me to leave quickly and I told him to shut up because he has no authority," Cristiano said.

Can South Korea make it to the knockout stage? ›

South Korea's players celebrate their victory over Portugal and the team's qualification for the knockout phase of the 2022 World Cup. South Korea did everything it could to qualify for the knockout stage of the 2022 World Cup on Friday, shocking Portugal 2-1 in Group H, but luck was still needed in the end.

How old would a 14 year old be in Korea? ›

3. How to Say Your Age in Korean (Updated in 2023)
Birth YearAgeKorean
201113 years old열세 살
201014 years old열네 살
200915 years old열다섯 살
200816 years old열여섯 살
86 more rows

How old would a 16 year old be in Korea? ›

if your birthday has not passed: Korean age = your age + 2.

Can Mexico make it to round of 16? ›

Mexico has made the Round of 16 every year since 1978.

How many times did Mexico win the World Cup? ›

Mexico has never won a FIFA World Cup, only ever reaching the quarterfinals twice in their history, and both times on home soil.

Why is Ghana called the Black Stars? ›

How did Ghana get the Black Stars nickname? The name is inspired by Marcus Garvey's 1920s shipping line of the same title, which aimed to take black Americans back home to Africa and construct transatlantic connections among people of African descent on both sides of the Atlantic.

Has Cameroon ever taken World Cup? ›

Cameroon is the first and, as of 2022, only African country to defeat Brazil in tournament play, besting them in the 2003 Confederations Cup and 2022 FIFA World Cup by identical 1-0 scores.
Cameroon national football team.
FIFA ranking
World Cup
Appearances8 (first in 1982)
Best resultQuarter-finals (1990)
Africa Cup of Nations
31 more rows

How many African countries qualify for quarter final? ›

A total of six countries have qualified for the quarter-final stage of the ongoing Under-17 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) in Algeria.

How many African countries qualify for round of 16? ›

Presently, Africa has five spots but there is usually fierce competition for those places and several top African teams have failed to qualify because of this.

How many African countries qualify for World Cup 2026? ›

48 countries will take part in the competition for the first time with Africa now alloted nine automatic slots. The 54 member associations will be divided into nine groups. Winners of each group will automatically qualify for the World Cup.

Is Ghana out of the World Cup? ›

Ghana have qualified for four FIFA World Cup tournaments; 2006, 2010, 2014 and 2022.

Can USA qualify for round of 16? ›

Team USA will face the Netherlands on Saturday in the Round of 16 at the 2022 FIFA World Cup. The USMNT finished second in Group B, while the Netherlands finished first in Group A to set up this winner-takes-all game. All knockout round matches are single-elimination style.

Who will host Africa Cup of Nation 2023? ›

The opening match is set to be played the Alassane Ouattara Stadium, in the capital Abidjan. This is the second time that the Ivorians are hosting the tournament, having staged the 1984 edition when Cameroon were crowned champions.

Which country will host African Cup 2025? ›

Consequently, the original hosts of 2021, Ivory Coast, became hosts of the 2023 edition with Guinea instead hosting the 2025 edition. CAF President confirmed the timetable shift after a meeting with Ivorian President Alassane Ouattara in Abidjan, Ivory Coast on 30 January 2019.

Where is the next FIFA World Cup? ›

Why Uruguay is eliminated? ›

Level on goal difference, Uruguay had scored two fewer goals than their Asian rivals, enough to put them out. What ensued were 15 minutes of frantic football, with Uruguay needing a single goal to qualify — and Ghana needing two.

Why is Uruguay out despite the win? ›

Uruguay tried to score the third goal that could mean a potential qualification for the Round of 16 but failed to do so and are out of the competition.

Why is Ghana not in FIFA? ›

Much of FIFA's popularity is based on its realism, which is why EA Sports chooses not to include unlicensed teams and countries under different guises. Instead, the Ghanaian FA opted to agree a licensing deal with Konami and Pro Evolution Soccer (PES).


Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Fr. Dewey Fisher

Last Updated: 10/28/2023

Views: 6171

Rating: 4.1 / 5 (62 voted)

Reviews: 85% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Fr. Dewey Fisher

Birthday: 1993-03-26

Address: 917 Hyun Views, Rogahnmouth, KY 91013-8827

Phone: +5938540192553

Job: Administration Developer

Hobby: Embroidery, Horseback riding, Juggling, Urban exploration, Skiing, Cycling, Handball

Introduction: My name is Fr. Dewey Fisher, I am a powerful, open, faithful, combative, spotless, faithful, fair person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.