Photo by Jannik Skorna on Unsplash
Photo by Jannik Skorna on Unsplash

The hopes of one continent hinges on five nations seeking to make history. Morocco, Senegal, Cameroon, Tunisia and Ghana will represent Africa in the showdown event in Qatar at the end of the year, as the world gears up for the 22nd edition of the FIFA World Cup. 32 teams from across five confederations will go head-to-head in 8 venues across the Arab nation to decide who takes the golden trophy home.

The World Cup has long eluded African teams from taking center stage. The best performances have been executed by three nations – Cameroon (1990), Senegal (2002) and Ghana (2010) – with all three reaching the quarter-final stages, as Bleacher Report mention it in their list of the greatest African teams on the biggest stage of them all.

This year could prove to be a new dawning in terms of African greatness. Let’s take a close look at the five African teams in the mix for the 2022 World Cup –

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  • Senegal

Reigning AFCON champions Senegal present Africa’s best chance in the 2022 FIFA World Cup after beating fellow favorites Egypt on their way to securing a place at the finals. With a team full of superstars – from star stopper Kalidou Koulibaly and mazy winger Sadio Mane to shotstopper Edouard Mendy and defender Abdou Diallo. If there’s an African nation capable of staging an upset, Senegal have arguably the strongest chance of them all. However, they will have to better Qatar and Ecuador, if not the Netherlands, in order to secure a place in the Round of 16.

Group A: Qatar, Ecuador, Senegal, Netherlands

  • Tunisia

African minnows Tunisia beat Mali 1-0 over two legs to book their tickets to Qatar, but they will know that the World Cup will be anything but easy, especially considering the group they are in. It’s hard to see Tunisia take points off Denmark and France, even if they manage to oust Australia in the group stages. The Eagles of Carthage look the least likely of all the African teams to carve a path to the Round of 16.

Group D: France, Australia, Tunisia, Denmark

  • Ghana

Just like Senegal, the Black Stars secured their place by bettering fellow African heavyweights Nigeria in the final qualification stage. It is near impossible to forget how they almost went to the semi-finals in 2010, only to cruelly be denied by Luis Suarez’s shenanigans and the eventual penalty shootout misfortune, which the BBC aptly described. Their fourth World Cup appearance could prove fruitful though, but they will need to better some really strong nations on the way, including Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal, South American dark horses Uruguay and South Korea led by Heung-min Son.

Group H: Uruguay, South Korea, Ghana, Portugal  

  • Morocco

The Atlas Lions have chances to upset the odds if their players can manage to squeeze the best of their abilities when it matters the most. Stars such as Achraf Hakimi, Nayef Aguerd, and Sofiane Boufal can make a difference. Noussair Mazraoui and Hakim Ziyech will most probably make a return after their falling out with previous coach Vahid Halilhodzic, giving Morocco a good chance to aim for a high finish, especially if they beat Canada and muster a point off Croatia. However, the sudden managerial change might be too hot to handle as the start date nears by.

Group F: Canada, Morocco, Belgium, Croatia

  • Cameroon

Arguably in the toughest of all groups, Cameroon seem likely to struggle to advance past the group stages despite their rich history in the competition. The Indomitable Lions are the most successful African nation in the World Cup, having qualified more than any other from the continent. But their recent downturn of form since the start of the century is a red flag one needs to consider. All three other nations in their group will be out for blood, and Cameroon are bound to be targeted for all three points.

Group G: Brazil, Serbia, Switzerland, Cameroon

African teams may have failed to get beyond the last eight since the initial tournament in Uruguay 1930, but 2022 presents a realistic chance for at least one of them to enter the last four for the first time ever.

According to betting sites such as SBO, Senegal are placed as top favorites to excel among all the five African teams present, with Ghana and Cameroon trailing the AFCON champions closely. Morocco and Tunisia are held in low regard by bookmakers. By referring to sites such as the one mentioned above, a great deal can be learnt regarding how to place one’s hand. Players, whether old or new, can also benefit from a whole range of rewards and bonuses such as free bets, cash backs, accumulator schemes and loyalty points.