The race to Qatar 2022 is on and quite a number of teams have secured their places in the competition set to be played in Qatar from November to December 2022.
At least 13 teams, among them the hosts, Qatar, have already confirmed their places in the competition and by the end of March 2022, the list will be full.
This will be the first World Cup finals to be held in the Arab world and the last that will see 32 teams participate. After the 2022 showpiece, the World Cup shifts to 48 teams with USA, Mexico and Canada co-hosting. It will also be the first ever World Cup not to be hosted in May-June, like it has been over the years, and it will also be played in a reduced timeframe, of 28 days.
As teams prepare to fight out for the remaining slots, one thing is very clear; some of the well known names aren’t going to be taking part in this competition and some remain at risk of missing out as they have to focus on the playoffs.
In the South American qualifiers for example, big footballing nations like Chile and Colombia do not have very high ratings on SportyTrader previews and predictions even as they head to their latter matches in the qualifiers. Chile, for one, are far out of the qualification slots, and facing a Bolivia side in La Paz is never an easy task. Chile haven’t had it easy and a run of four wins in 15 qualification matches will not leave them very confident.
In Africa, no team has qualified just yet. Ten teams that topped their relative groups in the second round of the qualifiers are set to face off in two-legged affairs to determine the winning teams. The winners will have tickets to Qatar 2022.
So, which teams from Africa are in danger of missing out:
Egypt/Senegal: Painful as it can get, one of these two sides will not be on the plane to Qatar. The two giants of African football face off in the playoffs and there can only be one winner. Will it be Mohamed Salah making another World Cup appearance? Or will Sadio Mane and Senegal be the ones getting the ticket. Time will tell.
Cameroon/Algeria: These two giants, with six AFCON titles between them, were also paired to face off and it can only mean one of them will stay at home and watch the World Cup on TV. Algeria were dismal at AFCON 2021 and just maybe they’ll want to use this to spring back.
Ghana/Nigeria: Ghana booked their ticket for the playoffs in controversial fashion, beating South Africa 1-0 amid complaints from South Africa. The South Africans were up in arms over a dubious penalty but the result stood. Now on the back of a poor run at AFCON, they will play Nigeria, who are also reeling from an early exit at AFCON. One of these African giants will miss the 2022 World Cup.