Africa Super League: Can new competition improve club game on continent?


“Morocco may well have broken barriers for African football with the country’s historic run to the World Cup semi-finals, but the club game on the continent is still lagging well behind the standards in Europe. As such, Confederation of African Football (Caf) president Patrice Motsepe is hoping the launch of the Africa Super League next year will change that. The South African described the new competition as “one of the most exciting developments in the history of African football” when he unveiled the latest plans in Tanzania in August. …”
BBC

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Africa’s World Cup: how a continent that usually underperforms finally got it rig


“After the first round of games at the World Cup, an all too familiar script looked to be playing out for African football fans. Five games played, three losses, two draws and only Ghana putting the ball in the back of the net in a defeat by Portugal. Another disappointing tournament appeared to be looming for the continent that Brazil soccer great and three-time winner Pelé once declared would ‘win the World Cup before the year 2000.’ … However, as Qatar 2022 draws to a close, the outlook looks very different. Every single team from the continent went on to win a game in its group for the first time in history, two teams made it out of the group stages – a joint record – and Morocco will become the first African team to play in a World Cup semifinal. …”
CNN

A pivot towards Africa


“… Sporting achievements have also played important roles in pan-African and diasporic projects for post-colonial national development, national and transnational movements for liberation, and individual and familial social mobility. Morocco is the first African and Arab team to advance to the semi-finals of the World Cup. The team’s victory against Portugal in the quarterfinals of the tournament surfaced strong pan-African and pan-Arab sentiments across the continent and throughout the diaspora. Headlines carried banners proclaiming Morocco as ‘carrying Africa’s hopes.’ …”
Africa Is a Country

England 3-0 Senegal: Emboldened Generation Head For Historic French Showdown


Jude Bellingham
“England came into this game nursing an unbeaten seven-game record against African sides in their World Cup history, although the only time they’d experienced one in the knockout stages was against Cameroon in the 1990 quarter-final, a game in which the Three Lions were largely outclassed, progressing thanks to a late pair of penalties from Gary Lineker. Senegal began 2022 by winning the African Cup of Nations and ending the same year as the first African nation to reach a World Cup semi-final would be a fair reflection of Aliou Cissé’s squad, even shorn of the injured Sadio Mane. England were favourites, but this is knockout football and the margins are tiny. …”
The Analyst
The Athletic – England 3-0 Senegal: Bellingham sparkles, eight World Cup scorers, Henderson sets the tone (Video)
Guardian: Jude Bellingham’s moment of cinema makes us wonder where this might go

Senegal tactical guide: Wide players key in attack and defence, and a curious corner option

“There will be no Sadio Mane, but that does not make Senegal an easy test for England in the World Cup round of 16. Aliou Cisse’s side are reigning African champions after beating Egypt to win the Cup of Nations final back in February, went unbeaten in their six-game second round of World Cup qualifying campaign before defeating Egypt again in a play-off to get to Qatar and matched the Netherlands for more than 80 minutes in their opening match at the finals before suffering a 2-0 loss. …”
The Athletic (Video)

Demba Ba’s guide to Senegal: ‘We will fight toe to toe with England’

“As Senegal prepare to face England for the first time in international football, former Newcastle and Chelsea striker Demba Ba — who won 22 caps for the Lions of Teranga over eight years, and is one of The Athletic’s guest writers during the World Cup — breaks down how they got here and where they could hurt Gareth Southgate’s team on Sunday. ..”
The Athletic

Ecuador 1-2 Senegal: Lions of Teranga Roar Into Last 16 for First Time in 20 Years

“Kalidou Koulibaly’s controlled volley was the winner as Senegal defeated Ecuador to reach the knockout stages of the World Cup for the first time since 2002. Moisés Caicedo had cancelled out Ismaïla Sarr’s earlier penalty, but the Senegal captain restored the Lions of Teranga’s advantage shortly afterwards in what would prove the deciding goal. … Ecuador started with both their full backs pushed very high up the pitch, a particularly brave tactic given the pace of the Senegal wide players, and the fact that Aliou Cissé’s men were happy to press those full backs man-for-man. …”
The Analyst

African coaches take centre stage at World Cup 2022


Senegal coach Aliou Cisse, Morocco coach Walid Regragui, Ghana coach Otto Addo , Tunisia coach Jalel Kadri , Cameroon coach Rigobert Song
“Qatar 2022 marks the first time in World Cup history that African coaches will lead all five African nations in the competition. Many are hailing it as a watershed moment after years of African countries relying heavily on foreign, white and Western coaches while many qualified African candidates were denied opportunities. So how significant is this for the African teams, fans and players at the World Cup? And will this lead to more opportunities for African coaches, both on the continent and overseas? …”
Aljazeera (Audio)

The Netherlands looked flat but Cody Gakpo was special


Cody Gakpo
“The last time Louis van Gaal took an unfancied Netherlands side to a World Cup, things turned out pretty well. … In this World Cup though, the options are a little more limited, and they might have to rely on a youngster who is at his first international tournament. Cody Gakpo’s stock was already high coming into Qatar 2022. He is a fixture of the transfer-gossip columns; and he’s been the leading scorer and creator in the Eredivisie this season, where he is the driving force behind PSV Eindhoven’s participation in what looks like a genuine three-horse title race. …”
The Athletic
Guardian: Cody Gakpo and Klaassen stun Senegal with thrilling Netherlands late show

The Radar – The Athletic’s 2022 World Cup scouting guide


“Welcome to The Radar — the World Cup edition. Last year, for Euro 2020, we profiled 60 players that people were talking about — or would be by the end of the competition. Thirty-four of those players have since moved club. More teams means more players, so for the World Cup we’ve upped that to 100. The result is below, a carefully crafted guide to some of the best footballers on show in Qatar listed alphabetically by country — the heavyweight names, the rising stars and the under-the-radar players who could be coming to an elite club near you. …”
The Athletic

Aliou Cissé on African Soccer, World Cup Places and Lost Generations


A mural of the Senegal star Sadio Mané in Dakar.
“DIAMNIADIO, Senegal — Ask those who have watched Aliou Cissé take Senegal to two World Cups in a row and direct his team to a victory in the Africa Cup of Nations in February, and they will tell you that his country’s wealth of soccer talent is only one part of the reason. There is something more tedious, more long-term, but far more transformative that Cissé, the 46-year-old former Paris St.-Germain midfielder and former Senegal captain, has brought to his squad since he became its coach in 2015. …”

World Cup 2022 Group A guide: De Jong keeps Netherlands ticking and watch out for Ecuador’s set pieces


“What tactics do the Netherlands use? What is Senegal’s weakness? Which quirk should we look out for from Ecuador? The 2022 World Cup is nearly upon us and The Athletic will be running in-depth tactical group guides so you will know what to expect from every nation competing in Qatar. Liam Tharme will look at each team’s playing style, strengths, weaknesses, key players and highlight things to keep an eye on during the tournament. …”
The Athletic (Video)

World Cup 2022 Groups: The Predictions


“The 2022 World Cup is finally here, with the tournament in Qatar being the first held in the months of November and December since the first World Cup finals in 1930. The 22nd men’s FIFA World Cup tournament will see 32 teams battle it out in the group stage after qualifying via five different regions – Asia, Africa, South America, North America/Central America and Europe (no nation from Oceania qualified). From there, 16 will make it through to the knockout stages. …”
The Analyst

World Cup provisional squads explained: What are the rules and will they be made public?


“A month from today, it all begins. The World Cup in Qatar looms ever larger on the horizon and the countdown is on to the first of 64 games that will crown a winner at the Lusail Stadium on Sunday, December 18. Doubts persist over the suitability of Qatar to host this World Cup, as well as its readiness to welcome more than one million visitors, but the biggest names in football are about to descend on a tiny Gulf nation that’s half the size of Wales and roughly as big as the US state of Connecticut. …”
The Athletic
The Analyst: World Cup 2022 Guide to Each Group

World Cup 2022 news round-up: Nkunku and Lewandowski shine as Argentina put faith in Scaloni

“Club football is back and with fewer than 50 days for players to find form and fitness before the World Cup kicks off on November 20, Poland’s Robert Lewandowski, Leandro Trossard of Belgium and USA forward Ricardo Pepi laid down a marker at the weekend. Off the pitch, coaches are already being rewarded before the tournament kicks off with Wales extending Rob Page’s contract and Argentina set to keep Lionel Scaloni as head coach until the 2026 World Cup in the USA, Canada and Mexico. …”
The Athletic

World Cup 2022 power rankings: how the 32 look with two months to go

“With most teams having played their final matches before the tournament in Qatar, who appear most likely to lift the trophy? …”
Guardian

World Cup health check: The issue each country must address before Qatar


“The September international break is normally relatively relaxed — a chance to tweak tactics and focus on formations. Not this time. For almost all 32 competing nations, this is the final set of international fixtures before the World Cup begins in Qatar on November 20. So that you can go into the break feeling prepared, The Athletic has identified one issue every team need to try to fix this break…”
The Athletic (Video)

Taking Senegalese Soccer to New Heights, With Pride and Style



“DIAMNIADIO, Senegal — Standing on the sidelines of Senegal’s brand-new national stadium, Aliou Cissé, the biggest fan of his own team, waved his arms at 50,000 fans, exhorting them to cheer even louder, his signature dreadlocks bouncing on his shoulders. Fans roared back, clapping and blowing their vuvuzelas at a more deafening pitch. Minutes later, Senegal defeated its fiercest rival, Egypt, earning a qualification for soccer’s World Cup, which begins this November in Qatar. …”
NY Times