The top 5 African teams tipped to qualify for the 2022 World Cup
Ten teams made it to the Final Round of the qualifiers in the CAF Zone and will battle it out for the five available slots. We bring to you the top five teams tipped to qualify for the tournament after the playoffs next month.
The playoffs are scheduled between March 22-29, 2022,
Mali vs. Tunisia
In this encounter, Mali and Tunisia face off in a repeat of the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations Group F opener as the two teams battle for one of the available slots to represent Africa at the tournament. The Eagles of Mali edge past the Carthage Eagles of Tunisia in the Afcon and will be looking forward to doing the double over the North African side in this encounter. However, after losing that opening game in the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations, Tunisia sights redemption.
Mali has recorded two wins, two draws, and one defeat in their last five games against the North African side (W2 D1 L2). Tunisia has two wins, three defeats, and one draw (W2 D1 L2) in their last five meetings against Mali. With some key players in the Mali team, such as Amadou Haidara of RB Leipzig, Hoffenheim’s Diadie Samassékou, and Yves Bissouma of Brighton, they can steer the team on to win. Moussa Marega is also expected to return after missing the Africa Cup of Nations.
The Carthage Eagles, with their experience in the World Cup playoffs, are favorites heading into this crucial tie against the West Africans. They qualified for the 2018 World Cup in Russia for the first time in 12-years. Just another playoff away from Qatar 2022. Tunisia has qualified for 16 consecutive tournaments, last failing to do so in 1992, consistency that is unmatched.
The Eagles still have a compact squad that competed at the FIFA Arab Cup and the 2021 AFCON. The North African experience the playoffs as they face a Malian side hoping to book its first World Cup ticket. Tunisia is the favorite heading into this two-legged game between March 24-27, 2022.
Prediction- Tunisia to qualify
Ghana vs. Nigeria
One of the big games in the playoffs is the West African derby between Ghana and Nigeria.
The Black Stars qualified for the World Cup on three consecutive occasions in 2006,2010, and 2014. The four-time Africa champions reached the quarterfinals of the FIFA World Cup competition in 2010 and are among a few African countries to reach that stage. Ghana missed out on Russia tournaments in 2018 after missing out on the qualifiers to Egypt.
Following a poor and disastrous campaign at the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations, the Ghana Football Association has named a formidable technical team. It was led by Dortmund assistant coach and scout Otto Addo, Mas-UD Didi Dramani, and Aston Villa U23 coach George Boateng with support from former Brighton manager Chris Hughton spearhead the qualification ambition. However, they face powerful opposition from the Super Eagles, who appeared in the tournament on six occasions, the first being in 1994.
The Super Eagles have qualified for six World Cup finals, the second-most of any African side, all coming since USA ’94. If they win the upcoming two-legged playoff in March, they’ll have made it to four successive World Cups for the first time.
The three-time AFCON champions were in Russia in 2018 and were eliminated after the round of 16. For the World Cup playoffs, Nigeria has constituted a solid technical team led by Austin Eguavoen. Ahead of the playoffs, both teams will be facing each other with interim managers.
The last competitive meeting between the Black Stars and the Super Eagles was Angola’s 2010 Africa Cup of Nations. Ghana’s iconic striker Asamoah Gyan scored the game’s only goal for the Black Stars as they reached the competition’s finals, losing to Egypt. Ghana and Nigeria have met in other competitions over the years, with the last being the 2017 WAFU Championship which Ghana won 4-1 against the Super Eagles in the finals.
The Black Stars have a poor record heading into this fixture against the Super Eagles in their last five games. Ghana has just one win, three defeats, and one draw (W1 L3 D1) in its last five games, while Nigeria has three wins, one loss, and one tie (W3 L1 D1). Nigeria stands tall in this fixture against its regional rivals and will make its seventh World Cup appearance in Qatar in November.
The Super Eagles will be happy over the return of former Manchester United striker Odion Ighalo, Victor Oshimen, and the availability of Ademola Lookman for the world cup clash.
The game comes off on March 24-27, 2022.
Prediction- Nigeria to qualify
DR Congo vs. Morocco
Morocco will be eyeing a place in the 2022 World Cup after a disappointing exit in the Africa Cup of Nations when they face DR Congo in the playoffs next month. The Atlas Lions were eliminated from the competition by Egypt in the quarterfinals.
Morocco has qualified for the final stages of the FIFA World Cup on five occasions, spanning in-between 1970, 1986, 1994, 1998, and 2018. The North African side will be seeking a sixth appearance at this year’s tournament against DR Congo. Morocco’s last five meetings have three wins, one draw, and one defeat (W3 D1 L1) heading into this fixture against Central Africa. Morocco and DR Congo both have one win and a draw in the last three meetings between the two countries (W1 D1).
Despite Hakim Ziyech’s retirement from the national team, Yassine Bounou, Romain Saïss, PSG’s Achraf Hakimi, Munir El Haddadi, and Youssef En-Nesyri can help the team to secure a sixth World Cup appearance. DR Congo is yet to lose a game at home in the 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers. An advantage they carry going into this game against the North African side. Morocco is the favorite heading into this encounter from their recent form and experience in the playoffs.
The two-legged game comes off from March 24-27, 2022.
Prediction: Morocco to qualify
Cameroon vs. Algeria
One of the big games in this round of the World Cup playoffs will see the Bronze medalist of the 2021 AFCON, Cameroon, face 2019 AFCON champions Algeria in a two-legged game to see which team secures the ticket to Qatar 2022. Both teams finished up as winners of their respective groups in the qualifiers. They were paired in Douala for the Final Round of the qualifiers.
The Indomitable Lions failed to qualify for Russia 2018 and are trying to make amends by qualifying for Qatar’s eighth appearance in the tournament. The Afcon 2021 host reached the third Round at Ivory Coast’s expense in the World Cup qualifiers.
Cameroon’s last five games against Algeria have a better head-to-head record with three wins and two draws (W3 D2). The Indomitable Lions are undefeated in their previous five meetings against The Foxes. Vincent Aboubakar finished the Afcon tournament as the top scorer with eight goals. He could be a significant threat for the Algerians in this encounter should he rediscover the same form in the playoffs. Meanwhile, Algeria will be looking to make amends after exiting the Afcon tournament in the opening stages. The team failed to defend the 2019 title they won in Egypt.
Led by Manchester City’s forward Riyad Mahrez, the Algerian team will be looking for redemption against the Indomitable Lions in the World Cup playoffs. Coach Djamel Belmadi will be counting on his stars Sofiane Feghouli, Saïd Benrahma, Baghdad Bounedjah, and Islam Slimani to secure a fifth World Cup appearance next month. Cameroon has just one defeat in their last five home games heading into this fixture, while Algeria has four away wins in their previous five games.
It’s a challenging game to predict, but the indomitable Lions have the upper hand in this tie.
Prediction- Cameroon to qualify
Egypt vs. Senegal
A repeat of the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations final beckons in this World Cup playoff as Egypt and Senegal battle in the World Cup playoffs. Both countries finished top of their groups in the Second Round of qualifying. They have been drawn against each other to battle for a place at the Qatar tournament later this year.
The Lions of Terranga emerged winners when the two sides faced off in the Afcon final on February 6, 2022, at the Olembe Stadium. Liverpool star Sadio Mane scored the winning penalty to hand Senegal its first AFCON title. Senegal has made two appearances at the world cup in 2002 and 2018.
In 2002 they reached the quarterfinal, and in 2018 they were the first team in World Cup history to be eliminated using the fair play rule after being tied with Japan on the first six tiebreakers. The Africa champions will be hoping to make a third appearance as they go into the playoffs against Egypt. However, they face an adamant opposition in the seven-time Africa champions in this encounter. Egypt has made three appearances in the world cup in 1934, 1990, 2018 and will be eyeing a fourth appearance in Qatar.
The seven-time Africa champions have vowed to avenge their Afcon final defeat to Senegal by qualifying to the world cup at the expense of the Africa champions. In the last five meetings between the two sides, Senegal has the upper hand with three wins, while Egypt has two wins. Senegal (W3 L2) Egypt (W2 L2).
Players to watch
Egypt- Mohammed Salah, Mohammed Eleny, Abou Gabal
Senegal- Sadio Mane, Iddrisa Gana Gyeue, Eduard Mendy, Ismail Sarr
The first leg will occur in Cairo on March 23 before the second in Dakar on March 29.
Prediction- Senegal to qualify
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