14 June 2018

Africa: Will Any Of Our Teams Finally Break The Quarter-Finals Jinx?

Photo: allafrica.com
Super Eagles of Nigeria, Mohamed Salah from Egypt, Senegal's national team and Morocco national team (file photo).

Of course, any World Cup would not be compete without a distinctively glamorous opening ceremony to kick things off. And even though it seems like only yesterday that we were laughing at Brazil after their 7-1 capitulation to Germany in July 2014, it's already been four years.

This year's tournament runs from starts tonight through to July 15, with 32 countries hoping to claim the trophy.

The hosts Russia face Saudi Arabia following an opening ceremony at Moscow's Luzhniki Stadium. But we only care about our very own African teams, don't we?

We haven't been that great in this elite competition, but we always hope for the best. Which one among our representatives will make us proud?

Although no African team has ever qualified for the semi-finals, I argue that now is the time to change the continent's World Cup story.

The continent has always promised a great deal in the international showcase but delivered very little. So which one among Nigeria, Egypt, Senegal, Morocco, and Tunisia will break the spell and become the first to get to the semi-finals?

We can honestly agree that escaping their respective groups would still be an admirable achievement, but what are the odds?

Looking at the pedigree of the five teams, and their respective opponents, the Super Eagles and The Lions of Teranga stand a good chance to qualify for the second round and possibly beyond.

With players like Victor Moses of Chelsea, Kelechi Iheanacho and Ahmed Musa of Leicester as well as Alex Iwobi of Arsenal, they stand a chance. They face Croatia, Iceland and Argentina in the group stages - so if they the underdogs, Croatia and Iceland, they can get to the second round.

The Pharoahs of Egypt are a dominant force at the Africa Cup of Nations. With one of the world's most in-form players Mohamed Salah of Liverpool, they stand a chance of doing wonders - if his injury during the Champions League final against Real Madrid doesn't get in his way.

However, Tunisia's prospects of pulling off an upset have been dented by injuries to Youssef Msakni and Yassine Taha Khenissi.

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