If you are African, and you love football, you’d always remember 2010, the World Cup in South Africa, Uruguay’s win, Luis Suarez’s handball, Asamoah Gyan’s missed penalty late in extra time, and you’d remember Ghana and how close Africa came to breaking the semi-finals hoodoo. The memory of that night still lingers and in subsequent attempts, African teams have failed to build on the hope that Ghana gave.
Qatar 2022 provides yet another opportunity, over 50 years after Morocco represented the continent in 1970 and just over a decade short of a century since Egypt’s appearance in 1934.
Interestingly, the qualification format for African teams for the 2022 World Cup is most exhaustive. In the second round of qualification, ten groups of four teams competed, with only one team going through to the third and final round.
After a keenly contested second round, the following teams qualified for a third round qualification play-offs:
With only five slots available for African teams at the World Cup, a draw was held with five pairings of two teams each from which the winner over two legs qualifies.
The final round of qualifying matches which is scheduled to hold between March 25 and March 29 will see this teams battle it out:
Egypt vs Senegal
Cameroon vs Algeria
Ghana vs Nigeria
DR Congo vs Morocco
Mali vs Tunisia.
Regardless of the outcome of these matches, Africa will be represented by its strongest legs, as the rigorous selection procedure will ensure.
Another factor that could work in our favor is the recent Africa Cup of Nations. The level of competition, player status, and tactical battles were all higher than in prior seasons.
It will, however, take a lot for one of the five eventual qualifiers to advance to the semis.
But it’s not impossible, and Qatar 2022 could be Africa’s greatest chance in recent memory to break the semi-finals curse.
Can Africa break the semi-finals hoodoo in Qatar 2022? Drop your comments in the section below.