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World Cup 2022: The predictions of former coaches

World Cup 2022: The predictions of former coaches

The five African teams qualified for the World Cup (Cameroon, Ghana, Morocco, Senegal, Tunisia) have not really been spoiled by the draw, even if the case of Senegal seems a little less complicated, despite the withdrawal of Sadio Mané. SNA asked Ali Fergani, Pathé Diallo and Pierre Lechantre for their predictions.

Ali Fergani (former international and Algeria coach)
"I wish I could be as optimistic as Samuel Eto'o, who is predicting a Cameroon-Morocco final and a victory for his country. But I think we must be lucid: it will already be difficult to get out of the first round. All African teams have inherited complicated groups. Senegal is a little better off, but since we don't know if Sadio Mané will be able to play (he was finally declared out of the tournament), and since this team is obviously less strong without its best player, it will obviously be more difficult.

If we look at each group, we see that the five Africans will have to face either a favorite (France and Brazil for Tunisia and Morocco) or a big outsider (Netherlands for Senegal, Portugal for Ghana, Belgium and Croatia for Morocco). Even if Sadio Mané is absent or even reduced, I see Senegal reaching the second round. For the others... let's say it could depend on the first game. A good result, especially a win, can give confidence and have a lot of importance for the rest. Ghana is far from being the team that shone in the 80s, when Ghanaians were called the Brazilians of Africa.

As far as the favorites for this World Cup are concerned, I see three of them standing out: Brazil, Argentina and France. France, even though they are lamenting several absentees including Pogba and Kanté, are still very strong, with an experienced coach and extraordinary strikers, including Mbappé and Benzema. Selections like Germany, Spain, Belgium, Croatia too can have ambitions."

Pathé Diallo (former international and Mali coach)

"As in each edition of the World Cup, it is expected that a big team will be crowned World Champion. For me, the main contenders are Brazil, France and Argentina. There are also Spain, Germany, and why not Portugal. Even if it seems less strong than in 2018, Belgium can have ambition. For several players of this beautiful generation of Belgian soccer, it is the last opportunity to shine in this tournament. Croatia is aging, but it can go quite far. Switzerland too, because it is a team that has experience in major tournaments.

For the African teams, we must expect that it will be very complicated. Samuel Eto'o talks about a Cameroon-Morocco final, I am already thinking about the second round, and who can qualify? They have all their chances, but we must admit that all will have to be very strong. Senegal has lost Sadio Mané, and without him, the team is less strong, even if it can qualify because it did not fall into the most difficult group. Morocco, Tunisia and Ghana will face teams that can claim the title, such as France, Brazil or Belgium. As an African, I hope that as many teams as possible will get through the first round."

Pierre Lechantre (former coach of Cameroon, Mali and Congo)

"I think that Samuel Eto'o is putting too much pressure on his team by announcing that they are going to be World Champions. I don't know why he says that, because no one ignores that Cameroon has good players, such as Onana, Zambo-Anguissa, Toko Ekambi, Aboubakar or Choupo-Moting, but that there are many other teams much stronger than the Indomitable Lions: Brazil, France, Argentina, Spain, Germany, Belgium, Portugal, Uruguay.

And in the group of Cameroon, there are also Serbia and Switzerland, which are very good teams. It will be very difficult for Tunisia and Ghana. Even without Sadio Mané, Senegal can qualify for the second round. I also want to put a coin on Morocco, which can beat Croatia and Canada. Personally, I want a France-Brazil final. People say a lot of things about France, about the injured, the atmosphere at the federation, the last bad results. I tend to believe that this is a good thing: France is never as strong as when it is said to be in trouble... "

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