Can Africa Repeat AFCON Success on the World Stage?


The echoes of Senegal’s exhilarating Africa Cup of Countries victory are still new, and the continent’s footballing passion is burning bright once more. 

The World Cup qualifiers are underway, with ten coveted spots up for grabs in Qatar later this year. The question on every fan’s mind: can Africa translate its AFCON triumph into World Cup success?

Renewed Hope: Building on AFCON Momentum

Senegal’s triumph was a landmark achievement, exhibiting the immense ability brimming in African football. Sadio Mane’s leadership and Edouard Mendy’s heroics in goal were instrumental in their victory. 

This win has instilled a renewed sense of belief across the continent. Teams are hungrier than ever to prove themselves on the world stage, and the qualifiers are a crucial stepping stone.

The momentum gained from AFCON will be a significant advantage for groups like Senegal. Their confidence is soaring, and they are playing with a swagger that will be intimidating for their opponents. This positive energy can be contagious, potentially inspiring other African teams to reach new heights in the qualifiers.

Balancing Acts: Established Stars and Emerging Threats

The road to Qatar is paved with challenges. Established teams like Nigeria, with their exciting young players like Victor Osimhen, face stiff competition from the likes of Cape Verde and Liberia. Every point will be crucial, and navigating this group organize will be a test of their resilience and tactical acumen.

North Africa presents a fascinating battleground. Algeria, the 2019 AFCON champions, are determined to reclaim their throne after a disappointing showing in the last edition. Tunisia, boasting experience with veterans like Wahbi Khazri, will be a force to be figured with. However, Mali, with their attacking flair personified by Adama Traore and Moussa Djenepo, could be the dark horses in this group.

Young Guns Aiming to Upset the Hierarchy

The beauty of the qualifiers lies in the opportunity for developing teams to make their mark. Burkina Faso, led by the impressive Gustavo Sangare, is a team to watch closely. Their attacking style and tactical nous could disrupt the established arrangement in Group D.

Ghana, a four-time AFCON winner, is undergoing a rebuild. However, their squad brimming with youthful abilities like Mohammed Kudus and Kamaldeen Sulemana, ought to not be underestimated. Their journey in Group G, alongside South Africa and Zimbabwe, promises to be an intriguing watch.

Beyond Qualification: The Long-Term Impact

The World Cup qualifiers hold immense significance for African football’s advancement. These high-pressure matches provide a platform for players to refine their aptitudes and gain important experience on the international stage. The exposure to different playing styles and world-class ability is invaluable for their growth.

Furthermore, the qualifiers are a significant revenue generator for African leagues. These reserves can be channeled into infrastructure development, improved coaching programs, and nurturing young talent. This financial boost is essential for building a sustainable future for African football on the world stage.

Adapting to the Opposition:

North African Dogfight: In Group B, Algeria’s coach Djamel Belmadi might employ a more cautious approach against Tunisia, focusing on tight defending and exploiting counter-attacking opportunities with Riyad Mahrez’s dribbling prowess. 

Against Mali, however, they might switch to a more attacking formation to counter their opponents’ flair.

Ghana’s Rebuild: Black Stars coach Otto Addo is tasked with integrating young players like Mohammed Kudus. He might opt for a flexible formation, allowing Kudus to roam openly and make chances for attackers like Kamaldeen Sulemana.

A Glimpse into the Future: Qatar Awaits

The qualifiers are offering a glimpse into the exciting future of African football. The continent is brimming with young ability, hungry to showcase their skills on the global stage. Established stars like Mohamed Salah and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang are hungrier than ever to make their mark on the World Cup.

The race for Qatar is heating up, and every match is a testament to the passion and unwavering determination that defines African football. With a blend of experience and young exuberance, Africa is poised to make a significant statement at the World Cup. So, buckle up, football fans, because the journey to Qatar promises to be a thrilling ride.


How many teams from Africa qualify for the World Cup?

Nine teams from Africa will qualify directly for the 48-team World Cup in 2026. A tenth team could qualify through playoffs.

Which teams are considered favorites to qualify?

Teams like Senegal, the reigning AFCON champions, and Nigeria, with their strong squads, are considered frontrunners. However, don’t count out North African teams like Algeria and Tunisia, or rising stars like Burkina Faso.

What is the format of the qualifiers?

The teams are divided into groups. They play a round-robin format, where each team plays every other team in their group home and away. The beat teams from each group (and possibly a playoff winner) qualify for the World Cup.

When do the qualifiers take place?

The qualifiers are progressing, having started in March 2023. The final round of matches is expected to be played in November 2023.

Why are the qualifiers important for African football?

The qualifiers are crucial for several reasons. They provide a platform for player development, generate revenue for federations, and inspire young players across the continent. Additionally, they foster national pride and unity.

Are there any home-field advantages unique to Africa?

Absolutely! The weather can play a significant role. Teams from scorching hot countries might plan crucial domestic matches during cooler times of the year, while those in high-altitude regions might leverage the thinner air to their advantage. Additionally, passionate domestic crowds can create an intimidating atmosphere for visiting teams.

What are some of the challenges faced by African teams during the qualifiers?

Travel logistics can be a major jump. Teams might have to travel vast distances for away matches, leading to fatigue and impacting their performance. Additionally, financial constraints can limit access to top-tier training offices and equipment compared to wealthier nations

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