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World Cup 2026: Predicting Africa’s nine qualifiers

03:29 EAT 22/12/2022
Kudus Hakimi Mane Osimhen
With a record nine qualifiers guaranteed for the Africa at the next World Cup, GOAL predicts which teams will make the cut
  • france morocco world cup amrabat


    Having enjoyed a record run at the 2022 event—no African team has ever before reached the semi-finals—Morocco appear best placed to not only qualify for 2026 but also make a big impact at the tournament.

    Not only do they have the experience of their extended run in this year’s edition, but as they spend more time working closely with Walid Regragui—who only signed up in August—they’ll get even more effective at executing his on-field wishes.

    Plus, this squad are mostly in their early to mid 20s, and many of them should be even more accomplished in three and a half years’ time.

  • Mohamed Salah Egypt.


    Defeated by Senegal in the playoffs for the 2022 event, Egypt reached the final of the Africa Cup of Nations, but were unable to follow that up with participation at the World Cup.

    It means that Mohamed Salah was unable to test himself at the tournament while both in his prime and unencumbered by injury, but will he get another shot in 2026?

    Despite an awesome Afcon record, the Pharaohs have only qualified for one World Cup since 1990. However, as Salah seeks one last shot at glory, and helped by the expanded field, we’re expecting them to get over the line.

  • Kudus Ghana


    There have been encouraging signs from the Black Stars as they bounced back from a nightmarish Afcon to actually give a good account of themselves in Qatar, even if they’ll massively regret that missed penalty against Uruguay.

    Otto Addo’s departure will necessitate another reset, but there are enough young and promising players in this squad for the Black Stars to come back stronger in 2026.

  • Victor Osimhen of Nigeria vs Sao Tome and Principe.


    There aren’t too many sides in Africa who have more talent at their disposal—and more offensive strength in depth—than the Super Eagles, and it was a major underachievement that they missed out on the 2022 tournament.

    The blame for this must—to an extent—be laid at the NFF’s door after their bungled handling of Gernot Rohr and Augustine Eguavoen.

    However, is Jose Peseiro really the man to get the best out of this group of players and ensure they avoid any further banana skins on the road to 2026?

  • FW_Sadio Mane


    Sadio Mane missed out this time around due to injury, but will he surely be back to have one final shot on the grandest stage of all in 2026.

    The reigning African champions have talented players such as Ismaila Sarr, Pape Matar Sarr, Krepin Diatta and Iliman Ndiaye in their early 20s, all of whom should be good to ensure the Teranga Lions reach the next tournament.

    However, Aliou Cisse has a big decision on his hands about some of the squad’s veterans, with key starters like Idrissa Gueye, Kalidou Koulibaly, Edouard Mendy, Nampalys Mendy and Cheikhou Kouyate all in their 30s already.

  • Wahbi Khazri, Tunisia


    Tunisia have an excellent record for qualifying for the World Cup, having been present at five of the last seven tournaments.

    Their performances at the grandest stage are getting better as well, with the Carthage Eagles winning two, drawing one and losing one of their last four matches at the tournament.

    Key figures like Naim Sliti, Wahbi Khazri and Youssef Msakni are ageing, but there’s enough talent there to ensure that—particularly with an expanded field—the Eagles will be present.

  • Bryan Mbeumo.


    It remains to be seen how Cameroon will manage the transition away from the likes of Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting, Karl Toko Ekambi, Vincent Aboubakar and Nicolas Nkoulou, who would need to take anti-ageing tips from Roger Milla if they’re to remain relevant for the 2026 tournament.

    However, there are bright talents coming through—the likes of Andre Onana, Christopher Wooh, Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa and Bryan Mbeumo make for a decent spine—although can Rigobert Song really win over those who continue to doubt his managerial credentials?

    It would be a humiliation for the Lions if, with their proud record, they failed to qualify for the expanded World Cup.

  • Kessie Barcelona

    Ivory Coast

    They missed out this time around after being defeated by Cameroon in the group stage, but the Elephants surely have the quality to fire their way to the next tournament.

    A midfield containing Franck Kessie, Ibrahim Sangare and Seko Fofana could be among the best in the continent, while the likes of Wilfried Zaha, Nicolas Pepe and Sebastien Haller should still have something to offer.

  • CAN 2022 Algérie Djamel Belmadi


    Imperious at the 2019 Nations Cup, Algeria subsequently embarked on a record-breaking undefeated streak before unravelling spectacularly at the Afcon earlier this year.

    They’re an ageing team, although it was still an almighty shock when their remarkable record in Blida was shattered as Cameroon reached Qatar at their expense.

    Djamel Belmadi remains at the helm, and with the likes of Riyad Mahrez, Youcef Atal, Said Benrahma and Ismael Bennacer, Algeria surely won’t mess up qualification again.