In terms of success, World Cup has been a two-continent affair.
Only European and Latin American nations have tasted what it feels like to sit on the throne of world football. But can that duopoly break in Qatar?
The Qatar World Cup is the first winter World Cup in history.
The tournament was moved to the colder months as summer weather in the Gulf nation can be intolerably hot. Even though the World Cup has been rescheduled, the temperature still rises above 30°C, which is a lot for European nations.
There will be air-conditioners in the arenas to bring down the temperature, but European teams could still struggle to cope with the heat.
This will hand Latin American, Asian, and African teams an advantage over European and North American sides.
African nations like Senegal, Morocco, Tunisia, Cameroon, and Ghana are no strangers to warm climates. So, these teams will not face much difficulty adapting to Qatar’s weather conditions.
But the weather is not the only factor that makes the idea of an African team taking the World Cup home not an entirely implausible one. No African teams managed to get past the group stages in 2018, but that should not undermine Africa’s progress over the years.
You will see many African players plying their trade in top European leagues.
Senegal’s Sadio Mane is undoubtedly one of the best footballers in the world.
The Teranga Lions captain Kalidou Koulibaly was one of Serie A’s best center-backs for years, and now he plays for Premier League giants Chelsea.
Eduoard Mendy won a Champions League with the West Londoners, Cameroon’s Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting is one of Bayern Munich’s best players this season, and Morocco’s Achraf Hakimi impressed for Real Madrid and Borussia Dortmund before moving to Paris Saint-Germain.
Ghana’s Thomas Partey has established himself as a key component in Premier League toppers Arsenal’s midfield.
These African sides have the quality to hurt the best teams in the world.
The likes of Germany and Spain are going through transitional phases. Current holders France have a great squad on paper, but their inexperienced midfield could be their Achilles’ heel.
Argentina, England, and Brazil have strong sides but appear far from invulnerable.
Since this World Cup is going to be held under unfortunate circumstances, we would not be much surprised to see a victor outside the usual suspects.
Cameroon legend Samuel Eto was bold enough to predict an all-African final, but the prospect of an African World Champion doesn’t appear much far off to us.