The 2018 World Cup in Russia will host five African teams - Nigeria, Senegal, Morocco, Tunisia & Egypt. Up to day, no African team have ever went through the quarter finals. While all of the five has tough draws in order to progress and produce a sensation, BabaGol decided to look back on the most memorable African teams in the history of the World Cups, and feel the emotions again.
The first member in the list is Zaire, participated in the 1974 World Cup in West Germany. Zaire did not manage to score any goals and lost all of its games, but earned the audience respect for their performances against Scotland and Brazil. However, their 9–0 loss against Yugoslavia remains one of the worst World Cup defeats. A bizarre moment came in the match against Brazil. While they were facing a free-kick 25 yards out, defender Mwepu Ilunga, upon hearing the referee blow his whistle, ran out of the Zaire wall and kicked the ball upfield.
He received a yellow card. This part was voted many times as one of the greatest World Cup moment in various of listings, though many commentators held it to be an example of African football's "naïvety and indiscipline", and years later erupted a discussion on racial & social perceptions while commentating a football match. However, Ilunga has claimed that he was quite aware of the rules and was hoping to convince the referee to send him off. The intended red card would have been a protest against his country's authorities, who were alleged to be depriving the players of their earnings. Just watch it for yourself.
Cameroon opened the Italy World cup in storm with a lucrative 1-0 victory over Argentina. Another win over Romania (2-1) guaranteed their spot in the next round, and despite losing to Russia, The Indomitable Lions have continued to the next stage. A stylish victory over Colombia with a brace (out of 4 goals along the tournament) by one of the oldest players to ever play in the World Cup - Roger Milla - have sent Cameroon to the next around. A heartbreaking loss to England, thanks to a penalty of no other than Gary Lineker.
It was a tough decision to pick one Nigerian team for this article, so we've picked two of them. Along the 90's, Nigeria was the striking force of African football, with an inspirational golden generation. It took them to the knockout stage in 1994, won them the Olympic gold in 1996, and rocked the world with an impressive victory over Spain in France 1998. No doubt that Bigeria has sparked the potential African football is enclaving in a way no other national team has ever done.
These are the names: Tony Sylva, Ferdinand Coly, Habib Beye, Papa Sarr, Aliou Cisse, Papa Bouba Diop, Omar Daf, Salif Diao, Moussa N'diaye Soulmanye Camara, Herny Camara, Khalilou Fadiga, El-Hdaji Diouf. Senegal national team was a group of no-names before the tournament in Japan & South Korea, but after it - the whole world knew almost the whole squad. It was the match that opened the first ever World Cup in Asia, and gathered a clash the world & European champions France, with its ex-colonial little sister in West Africa - Senegal. The Lions have won 1-0 and left the French in a shock, that cost them the whole tournament. Draws with Denmark and Uruguay took the Senegalese team to the next round, where they kicked off Sweden - and became the 2nd African country to go through the Round of 16. On the quarterfinals they met Turkey, and a 94th minute winner by Ilhan Mansiz have put an end to the Cinderella of the tournament.
The Black Stars were the pride of Africa in the the 2010 edition of the tournament. Victories over Serbia, Australia and the United States have made the whole world believe that Ghana would be the first African to go through the quarter finals. The fact that tournament was held in Africa made it a desired goal in the whole continent. After the hosts South Africa fell out in the group stage, the Ghanaians have became the fans favourite, the Pride of Africa. They had put up a great squad with Kevin Prince Boateng, Asamoah Gyan and Sulley Muntari, all in a monster shape. Only if Suarez wasn't playing dirty., and Gyan was kicking this penalty better... we would have seen a first African team in the semifinal. Baba's heart is still beating like crazy from the finish of this game, and the dramatic penalty shootouts. Goosebumbs!