The die is cast, the battle line is drawn, it is finally here, the highly anticipated and much publicized African qualifier for Qatar 22′ is on the horizon as ten of Africa’s best teams will be on each others jugular from tomorrow for a place in football’s El Dorado.

It all started for Africa in 1934 in Italy with Egypt flying Africa’s flag, since then the Continent has never looked back churning out impressive showings at football’s grandest stage, Morocco’s Lions of the Atlas from the “Himalayas” it was that first got to the knock out stage in Mexico 86′ Brazil’s Jose Farias iwas the one that tinkered that squad that paraded the likes of the “palace guard son of the Royal Kingdom of Morocco himself” Mohammed Timuomi, Zestful goalkeeper & skipper, Badou El Zaki, Abdulaziz Boudabella, Merry Krimou, Mustapha El Biyaz, Abdulrazak Khiari to mention a few who dazzled the world back then.

Then came the Lions from the Cameroonian highlands of Bamenda at the games of Italian 90′ with Russian born Valery Neplonichi in charge, the Indomitable Lions back then taught the soccer world some football lessons by emerging Africa’s first quarter finalist, in the squad then was the enterprising Cyril Makanaky, Victor Ndip Akem, Jerome Emmanuel Kunde, Massing Benjamin Massing (glorified), Mbouh Mbouh Emille, the Biyick duo, Oman François Biyick & Kana Andre Biyick, Skipper Stephen Eta Tattaw, Thomas Nkono and the king of the Lions “The Alpha Lion himself’ Roger Albert Mooh Milla who dazzled by miles, coach Valery said back then “Whenever I bring on Roger Milla, he envelops the entire squad” Milla was a super sub in Italia 90′ many believe the lions were robbed in that tournament.

Next was in Korea/Japan 02′ Senegal’s Lions from the navy caves of Zingachor, they call themselves, The Lions of the Teranga, with a complete champagne performance under the tutolege of Bruno “Abdulkarim Metsu (glorified), they reached the last eight and could have gone further with a bit more focus, in their ranks was the ” serial killer himself ” El Hadji Diouf, the ebullient Khalidou Fadiga, Pape Bouba Diop (glorified), Ferdinand Coly, Tony Sylva, Habib Beye, Henry Camara, Oman Daf, Salif Daio, Aliou Cisse (current coach) among others. Then the Black Stars from the famous “Ashanti Galaxies” with their “Akwaaba Flavour ” shone like a bullion “comets” in South Africa 10′ It was Radamir Dukovic that got them a quarter final showing.

There was the “Akwaaba” man, Asamoah Gyan ( Africa all time world cup top scorer), Kevin Prince Boeteng, Sulley Muntari, Michael Essien, John Mensah, Jonathan Mensah, John Painstil, Andre Ayew, Richard Kingston, Sebastian Adiyah amongst others, they were a penalty away from the Semi finals, but Gyan blew it all. Will i complete this piece without mentioning the Super Flying Eagles from the ever green vegetation of the Sahel Savanna of Nigeria? The second most enternaining side in U.S 94′ Africa’s highest ranked team ever at number five position before the mundial, they paraded the likes of Uche Okechukwu Alozie, Austin Eguaveon Owens, Auntin Nwanubike Okocha, Sunday Ugochukwu Oliseh, Samson Eyebowei Siasia, Stephen Okechukwu Keshi, Daniel Owofen Amokachi, Benedict Salinsa Iroha, Abdulrashidi AbdulYekini, Emmanuel Amuneke, Peter Dodo Mayana Rufai, Finidi Tamuno George, Mutiu Adepoju, Chidi Nwanu amongst others, tutored by the big “Dutchgerian, Clemence Westerhof . So from the “TERRIFIC TEN” the “FANCY FIVE ” will emerge and join the band wagon in the biggest football “EXTRAVAGANZA” in Qatar, in November, who emerges Africa’s “FIVE ALIVE” from Algeria, Cameroon, Congo DR, Egypt, Ghana, Mali, Morocco, Nigeria, Senegal & Tunisia, only time will tell, but its only a week from now.

Credit :Jerry Udoh


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