In 1934, Egypt became the first ever African country to participate in the world cup tournament in Italy. It wasn’t until 1970 that Morocco “Atlas Lions” became the second country from this continent to ever make its appearance. Currently ranked as the 22nd best national team in the world according to FIFA’s ranking, the “Atlas Lions” have superseded all expectations to make history.
52 years after their debut in the world cup, Morocco not only became the fourth African country besides Cameroon (1990), Senegal (2002) and Ghana (2010) to reach the quarter-finals, but also the first ever African continent team to ever reach the semi-finals at any world cup.
This came after their splendid performance in the rounds of 16 against Spain, which resulted in a penalty shoot-out, where Spain conceded 3- 0 against Morocco. Spain is currently ranked at 7th place of best national team in the world according to FIFA’s ranking. This performance was later mirrored in their game against Portugal “ranked 9th place”, as they defeated Portugal 1-0 thus creating history.
This 2022 World Cup truly had a lot of surprises, and African teams really out performed themselves. This comes after their dismal performance in 2018 which saw no African team qualify for the round 16 to have Morocco and Senegal qualify for it this year. Other performances worth mentioning are Cameroon’s (43rd place) win over Brazil (1st place) and Ghana’s (63rd place) win over Korea Republic (28th).
Truly Africa is becoming a force to be reckoned with in the world of football, and the world should be prepared.
Morocco is to face France (ranked at 4th place and 2018 World Cup Champions) in the semifinals on the 14th of December 2022, in the hopes of qualifying for the finals and making more history. They truly are the pride of Africa.
BY SHILOH JEDIDAH