Peru rounded off the 32 teams who will be traveling to Russia. Egypt, Senegal, Tunisia, Nigeria and Morocco are the African contingent taking part in the prestigious competition.
What makes those five different from the rest of the participants is the fact that they have a whole continent backing them. We Africans tend to stick together when it comes to the World Cup. We feel the joy of triumph and endure the agony of defeat even when the national team is not ours, and this particularly is true for Ethiopians.
We leapt in ecstasy when Senegal beat France in the group stage of the 2002 World Cup and wept when Asamoah Gyan missed that crucial penalty against Uruguay in 2010.
And we go again. Africans will be hoping one of the aforementioned nations will be able to produce something ‘magical’ this time around. Anything beyond a quarter final finish qualifies as ‘magical’ as it will signal the rise of the continent’s football and serve as a wake up call for under performing countries like ours.
Tunisia, Egypt and Senegal are in pot 3 and are most likely to face an easier group as compared to their compatriots in pot 4, Morocco and Nigeria.
African stars playing in Europe will also be under the spotlight come June. The World Cup presents them with a great opportunity to upgrade their names into legendary status. Egypt will be looking to Liverpool star Mo Salah, whose very penalty put them on the way to their first World Cup since 1990, his Merseyside friend Sadio Mane will be looking to emulate the heroics of fellow Senegalese Henry Camara, youngsters Alex Iwobi and Kelechi Iheanacho will try to propel the Super Eagles to newer heights and under the guidance of French manager Hervé Renard Morocco will hope to make an impact as will their North African neighbors, Tunisia.
The World Cup is just around the corner and it promises to be as enthralling as ever. Come on Team Africa!