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Top 20 African National Football Teams In The World

Though no team from Africa might have won the FIFA world cup, there are many teams which are exceedingly talented and popular. They have caught the imagination of football fans around the world by their sheer skill, footwork and other attributes. Hence, it would be interesting to have a closer look at the top 20 football team of Africa in terms of world FIFA ranking.

Nigeria

Nigeria is ranked 9th in the African list which is a bit surprising as they are quite the talented team. They are ranked 48th in the world ranking with 618 points and they have quite a few upsets to their name in the World Cup, most notably in 1994 when they finished at the top of their group, above Bulgaria, Argentina and Greece. In World Cup 1998 they beat Spain in the opening match. Nigeria won the Africa Cup of Nations three times, in 1980, 1994, and most lately, in 2013.

Senegal

Senegal is another small country in Western Africa and is ranked at 24th place with 838 points as per FIFA ranking. When the team was first established back in the 60s and ever since have been rough competitors in the Africa Cup of Nations, but it was only in the 00s when the team first breached into international recognition, when the defeated the reigning champions France in the 2002 World Cup group stage.

 

There are some big stars and the names of Sadio Mane and Kelta Balde always comes to our mind. In 2002, the team showed their best performance and came closest to winning the Africa Cup of Nations, but finished runner-up after a long game against Cameroon.

Tunisia

Tunisia is a small country with a very rich football culture and is a team to certainly watch out as far as 2022 world cup is concerned. At the 21st place on the FIFA ranking, they are the highest ranked African football team right now. Tunisia has many Africa Cup of Nations appearances. In 2004, they won the Africa Cup of Nations, a tournament they also hosted.

 

They have historically been talented and with 910 points, they truly are a force to be reckoned with all around the world. Their star player is Wahbi Khazri, around which the team revolves. Since 2014, after many years of disappointment, Tunisia are looking stronger than ever and considered to be on the rise. Tunisia played in the 2018 World Cup, although they didn’t manage to get past the group stage.

Egypt

Though not amongst the best in the league of football playing nations, there are reasons to believe that on their day, Egypt could create some major upsets. The team has many talented players, with the big star being Mohamed Saleh, one of Liverpool’s most prominent players. Egypt has qualified to the 2018 World Cup, marking it the first appearance after 28 years, and third appearance overall.

Egypt has a good record in the Africa cup of Nations record, with a strong 23 appearances and seven wins in total, with the latest win being in 2010, where they beat Ghana with a score of 1–0. They have 649 points and ranked at 45th place.

Congo DR

With 706 Points Congo DR are ranked third in Africa while being 38th in the overall world FIFA ranking. Their first and sole appearance at the World Cup was back in 1974, where they marked one of the weakest performances in the World Cup’s history, losing to all three of their group opponents in a one-sided fashion, including a 9–0 loss to Yugoslavia, which remains one of the biggest defeats in the World Cup’s history.

 

It does have some promising and entertaining players like Cedric Bekambu and Benik Afobe amongst others. Their performance in the Africa Cup of Nations is not as bad as their World Cup record, winning two times in 1968 and 1974, while their best result since the 1976 victory was the third place in 1998.

Morocco

Morocco is often considered a dark horse in World Cup, as they were the first ever African team to get past the group stage, in 1986’s World Cup. and with a considerable tough group nonetheless, consisting the likes of Portugal, Poland, and England. Unfortunately, Morocco got knocked out by West Germany and never made it out of the group stage in any World Cup since.

As of now they have 686 points and are fourth in the list of African nations while being 41st in world ranks. There are quite a few talented players but Achraf Hakimi who plays for Real Madrid is the one to watch out for. They were the runners-up in 2004 in the African Cup of Nations, and qualified for the 2018 World Cup for the first time in 20 years.

Burkina Faso

A small country with quite a bit of football talent, Burkina Faso has 604 points and stands in the 8th position in Africa, while being 52 in the list of teams across the world. Most of the players of Burkino Faso play abroad and the captain Moumouni Dagano is widely respected and skilled.

The team does not have anything significant as far as the Africa Cup of Nations is concerned, aside from 2013 when they finished runner-up after they lost 1–0 to Nigeria. Burkina Faso also showed impressive performance at the 1998 edition of the Africa Cup of Nations, a tournament they hosted, where they finished fourth.

Cameroon

This is a tiny nation and it has had its moments of glory as far as world football is concerned. They have 614 points are ranked 49th in the world, right beneath Nigeria. Cameroon is a very feared team in Africa, winning the Africa Cup of Nations five times overall, most lately in 2017, where they beat Egypt after an intense match. Cameroon also had some successful showings in the World Cup, in 1990 they got all the way to the quarter-finals where they got knocked out by England.

 

Reaching quarter-finals in the World Cup wasn’t just a big deal for Cameroon, it also marked the first time in the World Cup’s history where an African team reached the quarter-final. They have produced some fascinating players including the mercurial Roger Milla.

Algeria

Algeria with 474 points is the 9th team in Africa and they are overall 66th in world rankings. They are considered a strong rival to the likes of Egypt, their main rival, as well as Morocco, Tunisia and Libya. Historically, Algeria has done well on the African circuit, winning it once in 1990 after they persevered against strong teams in the group stage.

In 2010, Algeria qualified to the World Cup for the third time in their history after beating Egypt in the qualifiers play-offs, a victory that has led to a long rivalry between the teams, resulting in several incidents of violence among fans. Some months later, Egypt defeated Algeria 4–0, a match that deepened the rivalry between the two.

Cote d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast)

For a small country, Cote d’Ivoire is quite the football-loving nation. Despite being ranked at 68th in the world ranking, nowadays, they are considered quite a feared team in Africa. They have won the Africa Cup of Nation twice, first in 1992, and lately in 2015, where they beat Ghana after a 120 minutes thriller ending in penalties. Cote d’Ivoire also impressively managed to qualify for the World Cup three times, although they never made it past the group stages.

They have produced some fascinating players over the years who play for respectable European teams, such as Yaya Touré, Emmanuel Eboué, Wilfried Bony, Seydou Doumbia and the legendary Didier Drogba, who is playing since 2002 and currently playing for the American team Phoenix Rising. He has 99 caps and 63 goals to his credit.

Guinea

Guinea shares the 68th position with Ivory Coast and though they are yet to win any major title, they are talented as a team. Their most successful finish was at the 1976 Africa Cup of Nations where they finished second and reached the quarter-finals four times over the past two decades.

 

In 2012, Guinea beat Botswana with a score of 6–1, which made them the first team in the Africa Cup of Nations to score six goals in a single match, since Côte d’Ivoire in 1970. In 2001 Guinea received a two-year ban from participating in the World Cup qualifiers due to government interference with the team.

Cape Verde

Guinea shares the 68th position with Ivory Coast and though they are yet to win any major title, they are talented as a team. Their most successful finish was at the 1976 Africa Cup of Nations where they finished second and reached the quarter-finals four times over the past two decades.

In 2012, Guinea beat Botswana with a score of 6–1, which made them the first team in the Africa Cup of Nations to score six goals in a single match, since Côte d’Ivoire in 1970. In 2001 Guinea received a two-year ban from participating in the World Cup qualifiers due to government interference with the team.

Mali

They are placed 64 in FIFA’s world ranking with 484 points, reaching their peak rank of 23rd at 2013. Despite being recogniced by FIFA since 1962, Mali never participated in the World Cup qualifiers until 2002, and since then they are yet to qualify to any. In 2017, they were suspended by FIFA for a short period of time due to a government interference with the national club.

Of course, this does not necessarily 1mean that they have no skilled football talents. There are some worth mentioning names like Jean Tigana and Mohammed Sissoko. Their biggest success was in 1972 when they reached the Africa Cup of Nations Final, where they lost to Congo. In both 2012 and 2013, they finished third at the Africa Cup of Nations.

South Africa

South Africa is known for its achievements in Cricket but of late they also have been able to show their prowess in football too. After being out of competitive football for long because of apartheid, South Africa came back strongly to win the 1996 Africa Cup of Nations. In 2010, South Africa became the first ever African nation to host the World Cup, with their player Siphiwe Tshabalala being the first to score a goal in the opening match of the event.

In 1996, the same year they won the African Cup of Nations, they reached their peak ranking of 14th. In 1998, they finished in second place, and never managed to reach the Africa Cup of Nations final since. Today, they are ranked 74th with 428 points.

Ghana

With 624 points Ghana is ranked 47th in the international ranking. They were placed second in the Africa Cup of Nations and were champions in 1963 and 1965. Despite her success in the African scene, the team failed nine times in an attempt to qualify for the World Cup until they finally made it in 2006, where they showed impressive performance through the group stage, finishing second, only to get knocked out in the round of 16.

Though they did not manage to qualify for 2018 FIFA world cup they have some relatively big names like Abdul Nafiu Idrissu and Abedi Pele, and won the Africa Cup of Nations four times and finished runner-up five times, which is quite the impressive feat.

Uganda

Uganda with 403 points is 82nd in the FIFA international rankings. They also have some famous players like Denis Onyango and Godfrey Walusimbi. Their high came in the year 1978 when they finished runner-up in the Africa Cup of Nations and since then they have been lukewarm in their performances. They also have the legendary Ibrahim Sekagaya as their member from the historical perspective.

Uganda’s biggest win was a 13–1 against Kenya, while their biggest defeat was a 0–6 against Egypt in 1995. In total, they have 6 appearances in the Africa Cup of Nations, in most of them they ended up being knocked out in the group stage.

Benin Republic

With 379 points, Benin Republic are considered minnows as far as African football is concerned. But football is quite popular here. Their track record in Africa Cup Of Nations is also not too impressive, having 3 appearances overall with the first one being in 2004. They never made it past the group stage in all of their three appearances.

Benin also a fair share of famous footballers among the African scene, including Anicet Adjamossi and Stéphane Sessègnon. Their biggest win ever was a 7–0 against Mauritania in 1961, while their biggest loss was a 10–1 against Nigeria in 1959.

Libya

They are 101 in the FIFA international rankings with 336 points. They have never qualified for the World Cup and they made three appearances in the Africa Cup of Nations, with their best result being runner-up, in 1982, where they lost the final to Ghana. In the 2006 World Cup qualifiers, Libya was able to cause an upset against Egypt and win 2–1 in a group match, but unfortunately, they haven’t secured enough points to qualify.

 

Libya has developed quite the rivalry against other fellow African teams such as Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia, and Egypt. In fact, since Egypt’s loss in 2006, they haven’t managed to defeat Libya in their home soil. Libya’s biggest win was an incredible 21–0 against Muscat and Oman, a match that took place in 1966. Libya has produced some famous footballers like Claudio Gentile and Eamen Zayed.

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ruby Posted on November 21, 2018 14:57

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