Nigeria will not be represented in Qatar, but five other African teams will look to upset the odds and ride to glory
1994 Africa Footballer of the Year Emmanuel Amuneke has thrown his weight behind African teams at the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.
The World Cup kicks off in Qatar next month, with Africa represented by Afcon champions Senegal, Cameroon, Morocco, Ghana, and Tunisia.
The mission to make it past the group stage for all five countries could be tougher than ever.
Senegal have been drawn into Group A together with hosts Qatar, Ecuador, and the Netherlands.
Tunisia are lumped in Group D alongside France, Australia, and Denmark.
Morocco have to make it out of a Group F that also has Canada, Belgium, and Croatia.
Ghana have it all to do against former European champions Portugal, Korea Republic, and Uruguay in Group H.
Cameroon have probably the toughest challenge of it all in Group G, where there are also Switzerland, Brazil, and Serbia.
There are talks that it is time for Africa to make it past a continent-high quarterfinal placing.
Nigerian legend Austin Okocha does not share that optimism, though.
Former Barcelona winger Amuneke is, however, convinced that Africa’s representatives have the quality to impress in Qatar.
Nevertheless, Amuneke believes the secret to reaching the latter stages of the World Cup is first to make it past the tricky group stage.
Speaking to Al Jazeera, Amuneke said, “The five teams have been tested enough in recent friendlies, and they know they must first come out of the group before thinking of a semi-final ticket.
“One step at a time will do. The tournament in Qatar is a great opportunity for African teams to fix what happened in Russia when no team progressed into the second round.”
Amuneke was part of the Super Eagles squad that reached the second round of the 1994 FIFA World Cup in the United States, Nigeria’s first appearance at the Mundial.