Football is the biggest sport on the planet and there is a World Cup starting next month. The first-ever World Cup to be held in the winter is going to be happening in Qatar and it has brought many questions to Africa if certain nations who have not made the World Cup before that they could make the World Cup at some point.
This year the big African nations of Cameroon, Ghana, Tunisia, Morocco and Senegal have all made the tournament; the biggest sporting event in the world.
African sides at World Cups
African sides have been taken seriously at the World Cup since the 1990 World Cup in Italy. Following the 1974 debacle of the Zaire national side player kicking the ball away when Brazil had a free kick, the African sides have caused many issues for the European and South American sides who have dominated the tournament since 1930.
However, Cameroon in 1990, Nigeria in 1994, 1998 & 2014, Senegal in 2002 and Ghana in 2010 have all made it through to the knockout stage of the World Cup. The most successful was Ghana at the 2010 World Cup were just a hand away from the semi-finals but went out following Asamoah Gyan’s missed penalty in Johannesburg.
Which minnows have made the World Cup before?
However, it has not just been the big African nations who have made the World Cup before but it has included some smaller nations from the African continent. Zaire, now the Democratic Republic of the Congo, have already been mentioned but the smaller African nations are limited.
The larger sporting countries mentioned as well as Algeria, Ivory Coast and Egypt have dominated qualification for the African nations. However, Angola gave the smaller countries inspiration when they made the 2006 World Cup in Germany.
Could Kenya be the new Angola?
Kenya have only been eligible for the World Cup since the 1966 World Cup in England as the country was technically part of the United Kingdom. However, Kenya declined to participate in qualification until the 1974 World Cup held in Germany.
However, qualification has been tough for Kenya and they have struggled to match the countries that have a bigger pool of players to choose from.
The closest the country came to qualification was for the World Cup in France in 1998 but with just one place in the group, meaning qualification was confirmed they fell behind Guinea and Nigeria finishing 3 points behind Nigeria.
The main thing currently affecting the Kenyan side is the international ban that has been imposed on them by FIFA. It means that Kenya are unable to play any international games, play any qualification games for the World Cup or the AFCON.
It is hampering any progress that the country could make in terms of international standing. However, the World Cup in the next 12 years may still be a huge ask. Unless the country can produce more talents like Victor Wanyama then it could be a real struggle meaning when they do return to international football that they will not be favourites for any game; according to new betting sites.