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Football generally is one of Africa’s top sports both at the national and continental levels. There is almost no country in Africa that does not have football as its number one sport.
The game is highly loved and cherished by youths, adults, and the elderly. The continent’s football governing body is the CAF, the Confederation of African Football.
It oversees the development of football from country to continental level and organizes both national team and club competitions across the continent.
The African Cup of Nations is Africa’s prestigious football competition that takes place every two years. The last edition was held in 2022 instead of 2021 due to the covid pandemic.
Senegal is currently the defending champions of the tournament. The 2023 edition is up and running. It has so far been one of the most lucrative betting opportunities available at the best online bookmakers this year.
In general, besides basketball, tennis, futsal, and running, it is quite rare to find an African sports discussion that is not chiefly football related.
And, as some experts have noted, it is probably due to this deep love for football that Africa has been able to produce some of the most excellent football players in the world and, at the continental level, the best national teams ever.
The following are some of the most outstanding national teams that continue to make the continent proud.
Also known as the Atlas Lions, Morocco has been at the center of African football for decades. The team made its first international as an independent country in 1957 in the Pan African Games that was held in Lebanon and finished fourth place overall.
They then proceeded to several other competitions, winning the 1976 African Cup of Nations and becoming the first African National team to reach a World Cup knockout stage in 1986.
In 2022, Morocco once more printed another record high for the African teams at the World Cup in Qatar when they reached the semi-finals after beating tough group rivals in the likes of Spain, Portugal, and Belgium.
Currently, the team is ranked 11th best in the World and 1st in Africa on the FIFA Ranking list. Between 1997 and 1999, the Atlas Lions were the best African national team according to FIFA’s ranking. Their trophy collection includes 1 AFCON, 2 African Nations Championship, and 1 Arab Cup title.
By all standards, no African team is been domineering like the Pharaohs of Egypt. The nation’s love for football is outstanding.
They are the producers of world stars and continental giant clubs such as the remarkable Al Ahly SC, Future, and the Pyramids.
Egyptian football is often seen in Africa as the best. When the team plays, they play with the full support of their country. Their zeal for winning has seen them bring home over 7 African Cup of Nation titles beginning with the inaugural cup in 1957.
From 2006 to 2010, they were the reigning champions. Their matches altogether are often considered the toughest, especially when played at home.
Besides fast-as-jets players, the Pharaohs as mentioned have a fan base that can bring down an entire stadium with chants. In the continent, a win against Egypt is often celebrated as though it’s an AFCON victory.
Although the Pharaohs haven’t been all that successful at the global level; having qualified just three times for World Cup, they are one of Africa’s most successful national teams ever.
The Lions of Teranga, as they are popularly known, are one of the continent’s most progressive football teams. They began their quest for dominance right back in 1960 when they were formed.
After struggling against West African powerhouses such as Nigeria and Ghana, Senegal emerged at the dawn of the 21st century as a prominent figure in African football.
Between 2002 and 2006, the Lions of Teranga continuously pushed to the quarter-finals in each AFCON tournament. In 2021, Senegal won their first African Cup Nation title after what has been considered the toughest finals against Egypt.
Top Players such as Alious Cesse (present coach of the team), Sadio Mane, El Hadj Diouf, and Kalilou are some of the most exceptional profiles behind the Lions’ recent successes.
They are well known for their speed, tactical defense strategies, and unwavering determination. Like their Egyptian counterparts, they have qualified thrice for World Cup, that is, 2002, 2018, and 2022.
A perfect recipe for AFCON is usually one with Nigeria on the list. The Super Eagles are quite a phenomenal team in the continent with lots of titles to their name.
They are the first African Team to have reached the 5th on FIFA’s ranking list. They won their AFCON title in 1980 as the host country and later on in 1994, won the second. They were Africa’s favorite team within this period, earning the title “The Giants of Africa.”
They constantly made a series of top performances between the latter part of 1990 and 2006, after a historic world cup upset against Spain in 1994.
In 2002, they were AFCON’s runners-up and in the next three editions that followed, Nigeria consecutively finished as third best.
After a series of attempts, the Eagles won their third AFCON title in 2013 and in the next two sessions, they were unable to make it past the qualification stage.
They exited AFCON 2021 in the round of 16 after winning all their group-stage matches. Unfortunately, for the first time in 16 years, Nigeria missed the World Cup 2022 edition after failing to qualify.
Although their form at the moment is not all that perfect, in terms of play style, Nigeria remains the most favorite team whose matches are often a no-miss event.
This is another African Giant whose dominance over the years has been greatly noticed. They have some of the finest quality players who have made history not only in Africa but in some of Europe’s top-standard football clubs.
A good example is the legendary Barcelona striker Samuel Eto’o who currently heads the football governing body of Cameroon.
The indomitable Lions of Cameroon have won over five AFCON titles and made several world cup appearances with significant performances.
Their first AFCON title was recorded in 1984 and the most recent was in 2017. They were the first African team to reach the World Cup quarter-finals in 1990 and, made history once more as the first African national team to beat the ever-outstanding Brazilian squad, first, in a 2003 friendly and the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
These are some of the teams that continue to stimulate the African football arena. They are those you’ll often find as potential winners of AFCON competitions and the favorite of most pro betting tips sites.
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