Top 10 African National Teams - AFCON 2022 Rankings
Ranking the best African national football teams in this year’s 2022 African Cup of Nations
There has been uncertainty for a long time whether the African Cup of Nations will be played at all this winter due to the new wave of the crown and the pressure of European clubs not to let players into the national team, but in the end the Africans pushed theirs. The biggest African football party is underway in Cameroon this month, but it is not colorful on the stands as we are used to.
This is the second continental championship of Africa to be played in an expanded format with 24 national teams. The first was played the previous time in Egypt, where Algeria celebrated.
Participants were divided into six groups of four teams. The two best-placed teams from each group plus the four best third-placed teams go to the knockout phase. So, one should not expect a surprise before the round of 16. It should have been quite easy for the favorites to win a place in the knockout round. But it’s football and there are no rules when it comes to this beautiful game.
The composition of the groups looked like this:
GROUP A: Cameroon, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Cape Verde
GROUP B: Senegal, Zimbabwe, Guinea, Malawi
GROUP C: Morocco, Ghana, Gabon, Comoros
GROUP D: Egypt, Nigeria, Sudan, Guinea-Bissau
GROUP E: Algeria, Ivory Coast, Equatorial Guinea, Sierra Leone
GROUP F: Tunisia, Mali, Mauritania, Gambia
At first glance, it seems that some traditionally strong African national teams are missing. There is no double champion, the selection of DR Congo whose colors are defended by famous names such as Cedric Bakambu, Silas, Chancel Mbembe, Arthur Masukau. There is no South Africa, Zambia, Congo, Angola, Togo
Top 10 African National Teams
Mali had enough quality to be first in the group and then a land mine against favorites in the knockout phase. This is a team you shouldn't bet against. They have a pretty solid team. Most of the players were raised and trained in France, and 11 current national team players still play there today.
The most successful coach in the history of Ghana recently returned to the bench of the Black Stars and rekindled great expectations. He found a rather spent team that passed its zenith, made a partial change of generation and refreshed the national team as much as he could.
For half of the national team, this was their debut in a big competition. But it wasn’t enough even to pass the group stage.
Tunisia had problems even in the group and they were not given any solid chances to fight for the trophy. Experienced Wahbi Khazri is the most famous name for us in Europe. A dozen old blacksmiths who love the ball, have an awesome shot and a good overview of the game.
But he is also far from the former form of Bordeaux, Sunderland and Rennes. He struggles with Saint-Etienne in France.
The Cameroonians hadn’t problem with passing the group, but they will not be a big favorite in the knockout phase. Their chances for the title are not great and a semifinal would be the ultimate goal of the selection led by the Portuguese Tony Conceicao.
Let us remind you, Liverpool stopper Joel Matip has not played for the national team for some time due to the conflict with the Federation.
The Super Eagles (Nigeria) are probably the most damaged team in this championship. Due to injury (or Napoli's tricks), they can't count on the fantastic striker Victor Osimhen, who played in spectacular form in the first part of the season.
The story is similar with Watford striker Emanuel Denis, who allegedly missed the championship in Cameroon due to injury, although the club's ban is behind everything here as well. They were stopped in the first knockout phase by Tunisia.
Morocco belongs to the group of potential favorites from the second echelon. They would have been even bigger if the oversensitive coach Vaha Halilhodzic had not crossed out two great players, Hakim Ziyech from Chelsea and Noussair Mazraoui from Ajax.
4. Ivory Coast
The Elephants are not as strong as in the time of Drogba and Toure, but again they have a dangerous team with a spectacular attack. They recently lost in the qualifications for the World Cup in Qatar, so the success in Cameroon is an opportunity for great redemption.
Ajax's goal machine Sebastian Ale is probably the best spike in the entire tournament and is the biggest trump card of the Ivory Coast. Wilfried Zaha, one of the best dribblers in the Premier League, will act from the wing. If there is room for one-on-one play and dribbling, it is difficult for the opponent
Led by the best African football player for years, Mohamed Salah, the Egyptian national team is also one of the favorites for the crown at the African Cup of Nations. The arrival of the experienced Portuguese expert Carlos Queiroz on the bench raised the popularity of the Pharaohs after the bad coaching mandate of Hossam al Badri.
But the Portuguese also made one move that many in Egypt do not like. He crossed out Tarek Hamed from the national team, according to many the best midfielder who plays in Africa. He is a player who was the heart of the team, although he is not well known to the European football public.
After all, Egypt has traditionally relied on players from the domestic championship, mostly from the two biggest clubs, Al Ahly and Zamalek.
Senegal was second favorite before the start. Now Senegal is the main candidate to win the entire tournament. The Senegalese have never had a stronger team.
They proved their quality in the qualifications and were the first team to win a place in the tournament. They were also dominant in the qualifications for the World Cup in Qatar. They have one European star in each line of the team.
The best African keeper of the net is Edouard Mandy from Chelsea, he is in command of Calida Coulibaly from Napoli, the midfield is conducted by Idriza Gay from Paris Saint-Germain, and all eyes on the attack will be on Liverpool ace Sadio Mane. No African team has such a backbone of the team.
Algeria was the biggest favorite for winning the title before the start of this tournament. They are the current champions of Africa and had legitimate ambitions to defend the crown. And to become only the fourth national team in the history of Africa that managed to do that.
Of course, Riyad Mahrez is the poster of this selection, but Algeria is above all a real team in which the selector is almost the same star as Mahrez. Jamel Belmadi started his playing career in Paris Saint-Germain, and later successfully played for Marseille, Celta, Southampton.
He took over the national team just before the last African Cup of Nations, made some unpopular decisions, persevered and then blew away the competition at the tournament in Egypt. Along with Senegal, Algeria was the biggest favorite for the title, and it is no coincidence that these two teams played in the previous finals.
“Desert foxes” hoped for the same outcome, but also for breaking the world record. They were in a series of 34 matches without defeat in official competitions, and Italy holds the record with 37. But they were knocked out in the group stage with only 1 goal scored. A real disaster!
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