The 2018 world cup in Russia is barely 12 days away. As we anticipate and wait eagerly for one month of total football, we want to look at the African teams who made it and how they did it. We will look at the road they took to Russia, the stops they made and the chief drivers. Before we look at the road they took, let look at the teams who made it. They include Nigeria, Egypt, Senegal, Morocco and Tunisia.
All the teams mentioned above took various routes and made different stops to get to Russia. They did so in their own way, their own pace and their own strength. They will represent Africa in Russia because of the determination and zeal with which they began the journey. Now that we know the countries going to Russia, let’s look at how they got there.
ROAD TO RUSSIA FOR NIGERIA.
The super eagles of Nigeria as they are popularly known are going to their 6th world cup in 7 editions. They were the 1st African team to qualify for Russia 2018. Their journey was a comfortable one going unbeaten in the group. Nigeria won 4 matches and drew the remaining two to qualify for Russia scoring 12 goals in the process.
They began their journey by beating Swaziland with a 2 nil aggregate score. That catapulted them into the group stage where they met Zambia, Algeria, and Cameroon. The group stage began with a meeting against Zambia. They won by 2 goals to 1. They played their second match against Algeria and defeated them by 3 goals to 1.
Cameroon also took a 4 nil drubbing in the 1st leg but drew 1 all in the second leg. The leg against Zambia still went in their favor with a 1 nil score line. That score line cemented their place in Russia. They rounded things up with a 1 all draw with Algeria.
ROAD TO RUSSIA FOR EGYPT.
The pharaohs of Egypt also had a comfortable journey to qualify for their 1st world cup since 1990. They won against Chad by a 4 – 1 aggregate score to make the group stages. Their group stage campaign began against Congo, a game they won by 2 goals to 1. They quickly followed that with a promising 2 nil win against Ghana.
That result was followed by a shock 1 nil loss to Uganda. They exacted their revenge against Uganda by beating them 1 nil at home in front of their fans. That gave them the momentum to see of Congo by a 2-1 score line. The result against Congo guaranteed them a place in Russia with a game to spare. The match against Ghana which was of no significance ended in a 1 all stalemate. Their star player en route to Russia was Mohammed Salah.
ROAD TO RUSSIA FOR TUNISIA.
Tunisia like Nigeria are known as the eagles of carthage. They also began their journey to Russia by beating Mauritania 4 goals to 2 over both legs. That qualified them to partake in the group stage. They were paired with Guinea, Libya and DR Congo. They began the group stage by beating Guinea 2 nil.
That set the pace for the rest of the group stage where they beat Libya by a goal to nil. They followed that up by a 2-1 win against DR Congo. The return leg away ended in a 2 all draw. The reinvigorated themselves to win 4-1 against Guinea and round the group stage by drawing 0-0 with Libya.
ROAD TO RUSSIA FOR MOROCCO.
Morocco also known as the atlas lions have qualified for their 1st world cup since France 1998. Their journey was a relatively difficult one compared to their neighbors. The journey began with a 2-1 aggregate win over Equatorial Guinea. After that success catapulted them into the group stage, they drew 0-0 with Gabon.
They followed that draw with another frustrating draw with Ivory Coast. They sighed a collective relief when they beat Mali by a whopping 6 nil. The return leg was a cagey affair that ended in a 0-0 stalemate. At home against Gabon in front of their fans, they beat them by a 3 nil score line. They rounded of the group by beating Ivory Coast by 2 goals to nil.
ROAD TO RUSSIA FOR SENEGAL.
Senegal popularly known as the teranga lions are back on the world stage after their absence in 2006, 2010 and 2014. They were led to Russia by the talismanic Sadio Mane. Their journey began by a 5-2 aggregate win over Madagascar. That gave them the ticket to join the group stage. They were joined in the group by Cape Verde, Burkina Faso and South Africa.
Senegal began the group stage by drawing 0-0 with Burkina Faso. Another disappointing draw was recorded in the away leg. This time a 2-2 draw. That result was followed by a 2 nil win over African minnows Cape Verde. They rode on that momentum to win the remaining three matches. First a 2 nil win over Cape Verde followed by the same 2 nil win over South Africa. Senegal ended the group stage with another win over South Africa, this time a 2-1 win.
RUSSIA WELCOME AFRICA.
Russia welcomes the representatives of Africa into it chilly and summer weather. Whether they can weather the storm and conform to the weather is another issue to talk about. One that will later be discussed. For now they made it to Russia, which is all that matters. I am sure preparations are under way for them to have a good tournament.
Please share your views on this post in the comment section below. Do share and like the post if you find it
FYA SPORTS: Because you and I love sports.