The 2022 FIFA World Cup In Qatar is right around the corner. The delay in the tournament getting underway — usually played in June and July but rescheduled to the winter courtesy of the soaring summer temperatures in the Arabian Gulf State — has only added to the levels of excitement. Anticipation is now at a fever pitch ahead of the 21st November curtain raiser between Senegal and the Netherlands. Tunisia, Morocco, Cameroon and Ghana will join the Lions of Teranga in the desert. Which of those sides goes furthest at the upcoming tournament remains to be seen, but those five sides combined could make a super squad capable of winning any World Cup.
Admittedly, the African representatives at the upcoming tournament will have objectives of their own. First and foremost, they must get out of their respective groups and into the knockout stages. 2018 marked the first time in history that all of the continent’s representatives were eliminated in the group stage, with Egypt, Morocco, Nigeria Tunisia and Senegal all falling at the first hurdle. Four years on, those travelling from Africa must do better, but how far would this collection of Africa’s finest go in Qatar?
GK – Edouard Mendy – Senegal
Is there any option other than Chelsea’s Edouard Mendy between the sticks? The Senegal stopper heroics this winter helped secure silverware for the first time in his nation’s history, triumphing in the Africa Cup of Nations in Cameroon.
RB – Achraf Hakimi – Morocco
Paris Saint-Germain’s Achraf Hakimi is perhaps the finest right-back on the planet at the moment, alongside England pair Trent Alexander-Arnold and Kyle Walker. He helped his club team to their eighth Ligue 1 title in 10 years and is a must to start in this team of Africa’s finest.
CB – Kalidou Koulibaly – Senegal
Centre-back Kalidou Koulibaly amassed over 300 appearances for Napoli during his seven years in Southern Italy. This summer, he moves onto pastures new following his €38m transfer to Chelsea, and the giant Senegalese star looks tailor-made for the Premier League.
CB – Daniel Amartey – Ghana
Despite joining Leicester City shortly after they shocked the footballing world with a true underdog victory in 2016, he has only just nailed down a place in their starting lineup, some six years on from that unforgettable achievement.
LB – Fodé Ballo-Touré – Senegal
Our options at left-back were a little bleak, so we have taken a punt on AC Milan’s Fodé Ballo-Touré. The fullback deputised for the injured Theo Hernandez throughout the first half of last season’s Serie A helping the Rossoneri to a first Scudetto in over a decade.
CM – Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa – Cameroon
Zambo Anguissa made a spot in Napoli’s starting eleven his own last season. He only missed a handful of games, and that was due to minor injuries and AFCON. He is destined to impress in Qatar.
CM – Thomas Partey – Ghana
Thomas Partey is Ghana’s main man at the moment. New manager Otto Addo made him the Black Stars’ captain and he repaid him by scoring the goal that took the West Africans to Qatar away in Nigeria.
CM – Idrissa Gueye – Senegal
Another key player for Senegal in their AFCON victory, Idrissa Gueye is our midfielder enforcer. Similar to N’Golo Kante, he breaks up opposition attacks and allows his midfield cohorts to control the game. The former Everton man is guaranteed to start the World Cup’s curtain raiser.
RW – Ismaila Sarr – Senegal
Ismaila Sarr has just been relegated to the English Championship with Watford for the second time in three years. Despite that, there is no disputing his class. He has been linked with a big move all summer but looks set to stay at Vicarage Road.
LW – Karl Toko-Ekambi – Cameroon
Last season, Karl Toko-Ekambi filled a Memphis Depay-sized hole in Lyon, scoring 16 goals in 38 appearances and was one of his side’s better performers. He is also the man for the big occasion, as displayed in the 2020 Champions League quarter-final against Manchester City when he ran the Blues’ backline ragged.
ST – Sadio Mane – Senegal
And finally, our main man. Sadio Mane — alongside Mohamed Salah — has been the shining light of African football for the last few years. He scored 120 goals for Liverpool during a trophy-laden spell, and that looks set to continue in Bavaria, already lifting the German Supercup with Bayern Munich after their victory over RB Leipzig at the weekend.