Africa may have its fair share of troubles, but the love of football is a continental relief. Teams at the top of the ranking table in Africa can compete with teams worldwide. This article ranks the best African football teams to help you prepare for the upcoming World Cup and explains why they are the best.
Going by the FIFA World Ranking of men's national teams, the best African teams, after group stage eliminations, play against each other to determine the five who have assured slots in the tournament.
Top ten best African football teams
Recent years have seen African teams flourish in domestic and international tournaments. Qatar will host its first FIFA World Cup in 2022. Here is a breakdown of the ten best African football teams.
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Les Aigles made it to the third round of the 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers but were beaten by Tunisia. They, however, won five out of the eight games they played, making them one of the best African teams. The leading squad consists of some of the best talents globally, like Almamy Toure, the defender for Eintracht Frankfurt in the Bundesliga.
9. D. R Congo
The Leopards of Congo have been ranked 28th in the FIFA Rankings and was the first team in Sub-Saharan Africa to qualify for the FIFA World Cup in 1974. Their line-up has some formidable players like Cedric Bakambu, the forward for Olympiakos, Gedeon Kalulu of FC Lorient, and many others.
Algeria was disqualified from participating in the 2022 Qatar FIFA WC after their defeat by Cameroon. The Northerners have, however, qualified for the WC four times in 1982, 1986, 2010, and 2014. They have also won the AFCON Title twice. The squad has international talents like Riyad Mahrez, Manchester City's forward, and Islam Slimani for Brest in Ligue 1.
In the 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers, Egypt excelled at the group stages and made it to the third round. They were, however, disqualified from the WC spot after a defeat by Senegal, who will compete in Qatar.
The Pharaohs were the first African/Arabian team to compete at the World Cup, making them a formidable football force in the continent. They are the reigning AFCON Title record holders, and the players excel in other top leagues worldwide.
The Super Eagles were ranked 5th by FIFA in 1994, the highest position ever held by an African team. This honour is because of the team's magnificent talents, such as Wilfred Ndidi (Leicester City's midfielder) and Ademola Lookman (Atalanta FC's midfielder).
CAF has named them the Team of the Year four times and clinched the AFCON Title three times. Nigeria has qualified for the FIFA WC six times, with its first appearance in 1994. They have made it to the round of 16 three times. However, for the first time in 16 years, they failed to qualify after they lost to Ghana in the 2022 qualifiers.
The Black Stars are an African football giant, having won the AFCON tournament four times and being runner-up five times. They came in third at the 1992 Summer Olympics, which was a great achievement in the football world.
The Ghanaians first qualified for the FIFA WC in 2006 (Germany), then in 2010 (Rio) and 2014(South Africa). They did not make it for the 2018 WC in Russia but came back in 2022 after defeating Nigeria's Super Eagles. This success is attributable to the talents of coach Otto Addo and players like Andre Ayew, Jordan Ayew, and Thomas Partey, an Arsenal FC star.
They will compete in Group H in Qatar alongside Portugal, Uruguay, and South Korea in November 2022.
The Lions of Teranga first qualified to participate in the FIFA WC in 2002, held in Japan and Korea, and became one of the three African teams ever to reach the quarterfinals stage. They qualified for WC 2018 in Russia and emerged 17th overall. After defeating Egypt in the third round of the 2022 qualifiers, they have secured their slot in Qatar and will play in Group A alongside Qatar, Ecuador, and the Netherlands.
The team won the 2021 AFCON Title, with famous stars like Kalidou Koulibaly (Chelsea's defender), Sadio Mane (Bayern Munich's forward), and Idrissa Gueye (Everton's midfielder).
The Eagles of Carthage are one of the most competitive national teams. The team has qualified for the FIFA WC five times, the first time in 1978, when it became the first African and Arab team to win a WC match. Recently, they beat Mali and secured a spot at the 2022 Qatar FIFA WC in November 2022. They will play in Group D with France, Australia, and Denmark.
They have also competed in the AFCON tournament 20 times and won once as hosts in 2004. In 2021, they reached the quarterfinals stage and were ranked 8th continentally. This success is because of a strong squad with players like Hannibal Mejbri (Birmingham City's midfielder) and Mohammed Drager (Nottingham Forest's defender).
The Atlas Lions have participated in the FIFA WC six times, the first time in 1970. In the 1986 Mexico World Cup, they were ranked 11th worldwide. In the 2022 qualifiers, they beat DR Congo to earn a chance to compete at the Qatar FIFA World Cup in Group F with Belgium, Canada, and Croatia.
There are many talented Moroccan players active in the top European leagues. As of October 2022, Morocco is ranked as the 22nd-best national team in the world with 1563 points. They were the AFCON Tournament champs only once, in 1976 but have won African Team of the Year three times and many other accolades.
The Indomitable Lions of Cameroon were the first African team to reach the FIFA WC quarterfinals in 1990. They have qualified for the tournament eight times, consecutively between 1990 and 2002. In the 2022 qualifiers, they beat Algeria to earn a chance to compete at the Qatar FIFA World Cup in Group G with Brazil, Serbia, and Switzerland.
Cameroon has 5 AFCON Titles, thanks to football icons like Samuel Etoo(retired striker), Pierre Kunde(Olympiacos' defender), and Oliver Ntcham(Swansea's midfielder).
Which is the best football team in Africa?
Al Ahly SC is ranked first in Egypt and the continent, with the most CAF Champions League trophies (26), and 76th globally, with 1652 points. They are also the record holders for most wins in CAF African Tournaments (23). In second and third place are Esperance de Tunis (Tunisia) and Wydad Casablanca (Morocco), respectively.
Which African country is the most successful in football?
At the continental level, Al Ahly of Egypt would be considered the best team, with the most domestic and CAF League Titles. However, Cameroon would be considered the most successful internationally. They have participated in the WC eight times and are among the only three countries to make it to the quarterfinals.
Arguably, the best African football team is The Pharaohs of Egypt. However, despite not being the domestic champions, other teams like Cameroon's Indomitable Lions and Nigeria's Super Eagles have participated in the FIFA World Cup before.
Sportsbrief.com recently published an article showcasing the best Ghanaian players abroad. The Super Eagles have exported players to the top leagues worldwide because of their skills and talent. Thomas Partey, a midfielder at Arsenal, is one of these players.