By Joshua Opatoyinbo
The 2022 FIFA World Cup hosted by Qatar was a spectacular event. It was one that came with the traditional glitz and glamour the Mundial is known for. And certainly, the host left no stone unturned to ensure the greatest football gathering in the world lived up to the hype.
Africa had 5 representatives at the World Cup and it was a bittersweet experience for the continent. Stars were born, fairy tales came to an end, records broken, and some names said their goodbyes.
We take a look at the positives and negatives the continent can take away from the Mundial.
Takes for African teams from the 2022 World Cup
Every team went into the tournament with certain expectations, but not all of them were fulfilled. Nevertheless, there was a lot for the representatives to learn and build on. Here are few of them:
- All teams were coached by an African head coach
For the first time, all representatives of the continent were managed by an indigenous coach. This shows the development in technicality of the sport in the continent.
- All teams won a match in the World Cup
This was a great feat as all 5 teams won at least a match for the very first time. With Cameroon defeating Brazil, Tunisia defeated defending champions France, and Morocco thrashing Belgium. All 3 opponents were tournament favorites.
- An African team made the Semi Finals
For the very first time in the history of the World Cup, a team from Africa made it into the semi finals. Morocco went all the way as tournament favorites fell in their wake. They defeated Belgium in the group stage, Spain and Portugal in the knockout phases to make the semis. It was a spectacular scene and a proud moment for the country and the continent at large.
- Stars of Africa were born
We saw elite performances from Amrabat of Morocco, Mohammed Kudus of Ghana, and heroics from Lawrence Ati of Ghana. Surely, the future is bright from the rising talents of the continent.
- Sadio Mané couldn’t make the tournament
The current African best player, Sadio Mané wasn’t cleared fit to make any appearance at the Mundial. With his club form before the injury, the continent hoped he could be among the stars of the tournament captaining the African champions.
- Still no African team in the finals
It’s disappointing for the continent that Morocco couldn’t make it all the way to the finals. Defending champions, France knocked them out in the Semi Final and Croatia beat them to the 3rd placed finish.
- The wait is on for a first African World Champion
We all await the next revised and expanded World Cup that will include more participation from nations and hope we can finally have an African country go all the way and become World Champions.