Mixed fortunes for Africa’s World Cup representatives


With all World Cup sides having played their final matches prior to naming their squads for Qatar, it’s time to assess the form of Africa’s five representatives.

While Morocco, Senegal and Tunisia can take some recent positives, Ghana and Cameroon appear to have some soul-searching to do prior to selecting their World Cup starting line-ups following mixed results in friendlies.

Africa’s quintet heading to Qatar took advantage of the international break by engaging in two warm-up games to test their readiness for the global showpiece.


But unconvincing and lethargic performances have left some fans seething, while others have a reason to be optimistic.

Coach Rigobert Song has come under intense pressure after Cameroon – who will meet Brazil, Serbia and Switzerland in Group G – suffered two defeats during the friendly window.

Worryingly, the Indomitable Lions, beaten semi-finalists as Africa Cup of Nations hosts earlier this year, failed to score in both games as they fell 2-0 to Uzbekistan and 1-0 to South Korea in eastern Asia.


A two-time Nations Cup winning captain with Cameroon, the legendary Song’s popularity in the Central African nation has waned in recent months.

As fans continue to criticise his style of play and a lack of fluidity, one of his former colleagues has very publicly questioned his managerial ability.

Achille Emana, a member of Cameroon’s 2003 Fifa Confederations Cup side, insists the former defender is not good enough to manage the Indomitable Lions.

“We shouldn’t have sacked (former coach) Tony Conceicao so quickly. With all the respect I have for [Rigo], he must not lie to himself, he is not up to it,” Emana said.

“Of course he qualified us for the World Cup but since he took over, he hasn’t improved the team or figured out his first team. If we go to Qatar in this state, then we are heading straight for disaster.”

Despite the loud criticism, Song continues to enjoy the support of his former team-mate Samuel Eto’o, the president of Cameroon’s football federation, and needs to impress in a 9 November friendly against Jamaica in Yaounde.

After beating Chile 2-0 in Barcelona, the Atlas Lions of Morocco produced another impressive performance as they were held to a 0-0 draw by another South American opponent Paraguay.

It was an inspiring start for Morocco coach Walid Regragui, appointed earlier this month to replace Vahid Halilhodzic, who was fired following a dispute over the selection of Hakim Ziyech.

Regragui drafted Ziyech straight back into the starting line-up on Friday and the Chelsea forward played again in the second game.

Notable stars like PSG’s Achraf Hakimi, returning Bayern Munich defender Noussair Mazraoui, ex- Southampton winger Sofiane Boufal and Sofyan Amrabat all starred as the new man alternated tactics from defensive to offensive options.—BBC

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