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The footballing world is gearing up for the highly anticipated 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifiers, and as the teams prepare to battle it out on the pitch, there are several standout players and exciting matchups that promise to captivate fans around the globe.
Despite missing star players Victor Osimhen and Samuel Chukwueze due to fitness concerns, Nigeria presents a lineup of in-form talents. Nathan Tella from Bayer Leverkusen and Taiwo Awoniyi of Nottingham Forest, along with Moses Simon of Nantes, fortify Nigeria’s attacking strength.
This marks Nigeria’s seventh World Cup campaign, having debuted in 1994. Their most notable World Cup achievements include reaching the round of 16 in 1994, 1998, and 2014.
While not considered outright favourites, Nigeria holds significant potential to establish themselves as a force in African football.
- November 16: Nigeria vs Lesotho
- November 19: Nigeria vs Zimbabwe
Egypt’s squad sees the return of key players, including the prolific Mohamed Salah from Liverpool and midfield maestro Mohamed Elneny from Arsenal. The inclusion of Mohamed Sherif, Ahmed Fattouh, and goalkeeper Mohamed Sobhi adds depth to the team.
This marks Egypt’s fourth World Cup campaign, commencing with their debut in 1934. Their most significant World Cup achievement saw them reach the round of 16 in 1934.
Egypt boasts the capacity to challenge and potentially overpower any opponent, as evidenced by their strong showing in African football, securing a second-place finish behind Senegal at the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations.
- November 16: Egypt vs Djibouti
- November 19: Egypt vs Sierra Leone
Morocco’s formidable lineup features stars like Achraf Hakimi, Hakim Ziyech, and Sofyan Amrabat, all playing in top European clubs. Although their match against Eritrea was cancelled, the clash with Tanzania on November 21 promises to be a showcase of skill and flair.
This will mark Morocco’s seventh World Cup campaign, starting with their debut in 1970. Their most noteworthy World Cup achievement was claiming the fourth place at the 2022 World Cup, making them the first African and Arab nation to reach a semi-final in a World Cup.
Morocco’s success at the 2022 FIFA World Cup sets them up as favourites to secure qualification.
- November 21: Morocco vs Tanzania
Ghana’s campaign is fueled by the talents of Inaki Williams, Jordan Ayew, and Daniel Amartey. With a mix of experience and youthful vigour, the Ghanaian side is poised to make a strong push for World Cup qualification.
This marks Ghana’s fifth World Cup campaign, inaugurated in 2006. Their most noteworthy World Cup performance was reaching the quarter-finals in 2010.
Ghana emerges as a potential dark horse in this tournament, possessing the ability to challenge and overcome even the most formidable teams.
- November 17: Ghana vs Madagascar
- November 21: Ghana vs Comoros
South Africa faces challenges with the absence of Lyle Foster due to mental health concerns. However, rising stars like Bradley Cross, Jayden Adams, and Oswin Appolis bring fresh energy to the team, highlighting the evolving landscape of football.
This marks South Africa’s fourth World Cup campaign, debuting in 1998. They have yet to progress beyond the group stages in a World Cup tournament.
Despite previous World Cup campaigns falling short of success, South Africa showcases a promising blend of talent and youthful energy, presenting a formidable challenge for their competitors in the upcoming qualifiers.
- November 18: South Africa vs Benin
- November 21: South Africa vs Rwanda
Senegal, led by Sadio Mane and featuring talents like Edouard Mendy, Niolas Jackson, and Kalidou Koulibaly, aims to continue its footballing dominance in the qualifiers.
This marks Senegal’s fourth World Cup campaign, beginning in 1998. Their most significant World Cup performance was reaching the quarter-finals in 2002.
Senegal stands out as a favourite in this tournament, riding high on their success after securing victory at the 2022 African Nations Championships.
- November 18: Senegal vs South Sudan
- November 21: Senegal vs Togo
As the nation’s brace themselves for intense battles on the road to the 2026 FIFA World Cup, football enthusiasts can eagerly anticipate a spectacle of skill, determination, and the emergence of new stars that will shape the future of the beautiful game. The stage is set for unforgettable moments and thrilling matches that will etch themselves into football history.
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